Billy The Tree Climber
Billy The Tree Climber – a simple, yet magnificently complex, short story of a boy who was destine to climb a tree in order to experience the journey of a life time.
Billy naturally loved to climb trees. His main motivation was to get a different and better perspective of his neighborhood, his little world. As most little kids enjoy climbing trees, Billy was no exception, however, he seemed to desire it a more than most. It was like he was born to climb. Being on the ground was boring, dull and didn’t offer him the excitement that was found in the climb. The type of tree didn’t matter, although he preferred ones with a lot of branches and leaves. Sometimes he’d find ones with thin limbs that would offer him a free ride back to the ground like a natural elevator. Those branches would bend without breaking, gently lowering him to the ground below without breaking, just for him to make his way back up. While up there, above everything else, he would sit and take in so much more than he could ever take in while down below. He always enjoyed a snack while up there and occasionally he was able to anchor himself safe enough to take a nap, or at least doze off into a wonderful day dream. He had seen some amazing tree houses but the walls defeated the whole purpose of being up there in a tree, blocking the breath taking view. From up there he could see for miles and the tops of other trees would call his name. At, or very near, the top of one tree Billy was able to see a huge drive-in movie theater screen. He watched the film, with no sound, but the adventures on that canvas were nothing in comparison with the expositions he went on as he journeyed up and about the trunk, sides and tops of trees. He watched one windy day as a bag got caught in the branches. It held on tight and no matter which way the wind blew it wasn’t about to leave go. He wasn’t sure if the bag was holding the tree or if the tree was holding the bag. The more the wind blew the tighter it clung. He had seen some of his friends fall while just starting to climb. Others fell mid way up. Some made it pretty high only to lost their footing or grip. He never enjoyed watching helplessly as he witnessed them plummeting to the ground; however, it was always a reminder to Billy to hold on tight. He built up strength as he tighten his legs and arms on whatever branch was keeping him in the tree. Most insects were never really an issue. He did have to watch out for birds, there were a few times when he was dive bombed. He never knew if they were just protecting a nearby nest or truly out for the attack! There was one occasion where he encountered a huge spider. It was the size of an adult hand, at least. The spider, birds and threat of falling didn’t taper of discourage his tree climbing, he just avoided those sections of the trees. He knew to keep an eye out. Although is was a free adventure and pass time there was always the cost of risks and danger. He was willing to pay that price. When Billy wasn’t in a tree he’d find himself looking for a tree to climb. Climbing made him feel alive and he felt like everyone would enjoy life more if they would just climb a tree. Sometimes he’d meet new friends while climbing but even when all by himself he never felt alone when he was with the trees, limbs, and leaves. He loved how the massive trunk supported all the branches. Occasionally he’d come across a dead branch. It was still in the tree but had lost it’s connection with the trunk and was ready to snap and crumble to the ground. Those branches would often have insects and ants in them that helped devour it even more, eventually completely separating it from the main part of the tree until it was split from the tree and tumbled to the ground, becoming part of the soil from which it came. Life on the ground was dirty, grimy and grim. Nothing beat the view and freedom of being up and away from all that. Before Billy climbed trees he just crawled around in the dirt, after all, Billy was a lowly caterpillar.
The next section is the best part of Billy’s story
BILLY THE TREE CLIMBER
(Video clip – https://youtu.be/5XWFFTuX5gQ)
Yep, you got it, before Billy discovered climbing trees he was a lowly caterpillar crawling around the ground in the dirt. Each morning he ventured out trying, striving, to find higher ground, a strong healthy branch, a leaf to make his home. He saw others like him form a cocoon but he had no idea why they would surround themselves with that shell and miss all the breath taking things seen from the trees. One day Billy felt his skin cracking. Life was rough from time to time but never this bad. Something was taking place from deep within. Just when he thought things could get no worse he found himself in darkness and pain; however, it was then, once inside that chrysalis (cocoon) that his journey had really only just begun. He developed even more when he thought he was dying. Inside that cocoon he underwent an entire transformation , he even formed wings. One day he broke out. It was then that he was able to fly, no longer ‘sore’; but rather, able to soar as he shouted, “IT IS SO GOOD TO BE FREE ! ! !
He exclaimed, “I am King Billy, able to do anything” —but deep within he realized, not everything was good for him. As he darted through the air, in a tiny sector of the massive atmosphere surrounding him as he proclaimed to all creation around, “I am allowed to do anything”—but he knew not everything was beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23). As he fluttered here and there, accomplishing things he had only dreamed of before he came to a realization that this achievement was not something he had done, but rather, it was done to him. He didn’t speak the language of most other created creatures around him but displayed an undeniable, nonverbal, message. With each quick flutter of his wings he said,
“If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. There are other creatures out there that would love to eat me for lunch. They were created for that purpose. Because I cherish life they just cause me to stay alert, on guard for my life, because I am aware that they are on the hunt to try and snatch me out of the air & out of this life.”
As wonderful as this new existence was he knew that he was still existed in the rainforest, still in a jungle where the rules were based on trying to survive. He recalled three different times begging the creator to take these thorns away. He didn’t fully understand why the fields couldn’t just be filled with flower, why all the weeds? Nonetheless, it was a fact of life before he changed and it was an issue that remained today. Each time Billy asked, begging, for the creator to take those thorns away, the Maker said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So, Bill was glad to boast about his weaknesses, so that the power of all creation could work through him. Life was even harder before he had wings. He was now thrilled with this new life, a gift given to him, not something he ate or drank but a sheer gift from a higher power that never sold out, never offering cheep artificial imitations of life. That’s why Billy took pleasure in his limitations, weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that he suffer while literally flying thousands of miles in his short life span, on display, as a new creation. The shortcomings he faced just reminded him he was part of creation but not The Creator (2 Corinthians 12:6-10). At the time he wasn’t aware how short his life would be. He had no idea where he was heading, he just followed the direction coming from deep within him. He also wasn’t aware that he wouldn’t be able to return to where he came from. None of that mattered. He was heading to a warmer climate where he would go to live and finally be at rest. His motivation wasn’t just to be changed again, as he already had once, but to give thanks and share the love of his creator until The Maker performed an even more amazing transformation again. Still an insect, struggles remained but what a wonderful life Billy had. He had to develop in this new form and get use to how to use these new wings.
No matter how frustrated he was as he fluttered around he knew he needed to accept the way the Creator had made him, as well as, not make judgments about any other created creatures. Billy knew that his Maker was the maker of all that existed, what was seen and unseen. He learned to trust that the Master will bring all the darkest secrets to light and will reveal all the private motives. Then God would give to each one whatever praise is due (1 Corinthians 4:5 NLT). What this small new butterfly didn’t know was the larger impact created from the effects of his very own little wings.
As he moved through a garden, miles from the tree where he was reborn, he spoke to nearby creature, such as ants, ladybugs and locus saying,
“If you only look at me , you might well miss the brightness. I carry a precious message around in this unadorned insect body of my ordinary life. I’m just a vessel, a mode of transportation. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with me. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that I’m really not much to look at, just another bug, an insect. Just like all insects, I have six jointed legs, 3 body parts, a pair of antennae, compound eyes, and an exoskeleton. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, swatted, sprayed and stomped at but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to part of the Creator, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what He did among them, He does in us—He lives! HE LIVES! Our lives are at constant risk for His sake, which makes the Creator’s life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best! (2 Corinthians 4:7-12 MSG)
Official rough draft – Part 3 of the story
Billy The Tree Climber
Remember, God puts us through a process too. At one time Billy was a lowly caterpillar crawling around in the dirt. Now he was on tour for the world to see. As he flew his bright new colors and graceful wings projected glory toward God. Even those who didn’t speak the same language anyone who saw him heard Billy saying, “Just as the farmer planted seeds in this garden, so also I’m planting a seed in your hearts, another will watered it, but it is God who makes it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6 NLT). Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy ( Proverbs 14:10 NIV). Listen, everyone, listen— earth-dwellers, don’t miss this.” As Billy’s body jolted sideways, slantway, upward and downward in quick bust of unpredictable movement his entire body exclaimed his enthusiasm, “All you haves and have-nots, all together now: listen. I set plainspoken wisdom before you, my heart-seasoned understandings of life. I fine-tuned my ear to the sayings of the wise, I solve life’s riddle with the help of a psalmist’s harp…” He flew over many different landscapes, rivers, sheep and shepherds, mountains and valleys. Some noticed and heard his fluttered song, “So why should I fear in bad times, hemmed in by enemy malice, shoved around by bullies, demeaned by the arrogant rich? Really! There’s no such thing as self-rescue, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. The cost of rescue is beyond our means, and even then it doesn’t guarantee life forever, or insurance against the Black Hole.” At one point he saw a group of humans gathered under a small tent in a lovely section covered with soft grass and many stone markers. One of the children in the group watched his flight then ran off from the group of adults gathered in a chase to get a closer look at Billy. He landed on a nearby stone to show his delicate wings as he spoke, “Child, anyone can see that the brightest and best die, wiped out right along with fools and dunces. They leave all their prowess behind, move into their new home, the coffin, the cemetery their permanent address. Life is beautiful, cherish it while you are alive because all created things must some day die. Make the most of your life as you grow but remember to glorify and offer thanks, give credit to God for life. This life should be lived out with Him in our mind and hearts. Don’t just lookout for your own pleasure. We only live once. Some think that means that we should obtain things, as much as we can while alive, to think they named counties after themselves! We aren’t immortal. We don’t last long. Humans are no different, like their dogs, everything ages, weakens and dies. This is what happens to those who live for the moment, who only look out for themselves: Death herds them like sheep straight to hell; they disappear down the gullet of the grave; They waste away to nothing— nothing left but a marker in a cemetery. But me? God snatches me from the clutch of death, he reaches down and grabs me. I thought I was done for, ready to just curl up and die. I thought my heart was split in two, just like my body; but when I allowed the creator to break my heart and selfish dreams He decided to allow me to live a new & different way.” The child spoke to Billy, “I want to be a butterfly, like you and fly far, far away from here. Bly’s wings allowed him to leap into the air again only to paused at a flower nearby to take in some nectar. Then he spoke with the child again as she followed, you could almost hear music behind what he was saying as he set the beat with his wings chanting even while resting on that bloom, “Child, as you turn into an adult, don’t be impressed with those who get rich and pile up fame and fortune. Some tend to think one species or race is more loved and blessed by God than another, however, He loves and blesses all living things the same. Live to return your thanks to him, not fall short of His glory but unselfishly give Him your life from this day forward. Those who are considered rich with many possessions can’t take those things with them; fame and fortune all get left behind. Just when they think they’ve arrived and folks praise them because they’ve made good, they enter the family burial plot where they’ll never see sunshine again.” Billy repeated himself, “We aren’t immortal. We don’t last long.” The child said, “My brother died the other day.” Billy left the sweet nectar to land on the child’s finger. She wanted to shout, “LOOK! MOMMY!”, but remained silent so he wasn’t scared away. In her stillness she could hear him offering hope that God gives and takes away but He is always to be praised and His name should always be blessed. No matter how weak and fragile and temporary we are, He is strong, secure and eternal. She heard a voice, as if Billy was letting the creator speak through his delicate antennas directly to the little girl’s heart, “Trust the Creator.” (Psalm 49:1-20 MSG). When flying away he could read this child’s vows as she put her faith in God.
Billy knew what it meant to be born again. He was intimate with the Father of all creation and because he knew God as father he also knew the Son who had come into this world in created human form. He often would recalled what Jesus said when he was walking the earth. He heard Jesus’s voice saying, “Let me say it again, unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a child, new born baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit. So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that.” Billy felt the breeze. “You hear it rustling through the trees.” Billy listened, hearing the leaves and the words of Jesus, “But, you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.” (John 3:5-8 MSG)
Billy continued to make his way, here and there, it appeared to anyone who saw him that he wasn’t heading in any particular direction, but he was. He was on a migration that included thousands of miles. On one occasion as he stopped to feed on milkweed a nosey little ant asked him, “Why do you bounce around in the air?” The ant tried to convince him, “You’d get wherever you are going much faster if you’d just stay grounded like me or, if you are gonna fly there, fly in a straight line! Like the crow flies. Why don’t you just do that?”, asked the ant. Before Billy leaped off into flight again he just replied, “I bounce in the air like this because…because this is the way I was created. He left the ant behind as he watched him become smaller and smaller in the distance. Billy found himself going thought forest and meadows, occasionally stopping to eat and drink. He didn’t appear to be in a hurry but naturally knew to keep on flying after short breaks here and there. His random movement also made it difficult for prey to capture him. As he passed over a farm he watched a farmer planting seeds. He thought again about Jesus’ words, “The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.” (Matthew 13:23 MSG) He thought to himself, Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, I see how essential it is to live a holy life. Daily he expected the Day of God, eager for its arrival. While surveying the land below from his flight above he thought, The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day—but I’ll hardly notice. I’ll be looking the other way, ready for the promised new heavens and the promised new earth, all landscaped with righteousness. Since this is what I have to look forward to, I will do my very best to be found living at my best, in purity and peace. He interpreted what the Master’s patient restraint for what it was: salvation. Billy knew that the man named Paul, who came to know Jesus after Jesus left the earth, was given much wisdom in these matters. He referred to this in all his letters. Some things Paul wrote were difficult to understand. Irresponsible people who don’t know what they are talking about twist them every which way. They do it to the rest of the Scriptures, too, destroying themselves as they do it. God well-warned Billy of this. Just as, when Billy climbed trees he had to be careful, so also as he had to continue with care as he traveled. His journey was long and hard. He had to be on guard so he wouldn’t lose his footing and get swept off his feet by lawless and loose-talking teachers. Other insect and birds of the air could be pretty sneaky. Just as when he was on the grounds as a little caterpillar crawling around, he still kept his eyes open for spiders and other creatures who would not only scare him but ones that could devour him. Billy enjoyed communing daily and directly with The Creator. He followed His plan, His will. Each day he grew in grace and understanding of The Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. Those who watched closely could hear Billy, sometimes loudly, sometimes at a whisper saying, “Glory to the Master, now and forever! Yes!” (2 Peter 3:11-18 MSG)
One new morning, after a good night sleep Billy heard God, The Father of all things created in the past, the present and future saying, “Pay close attention now: I’m creating new heavens and a new earth. All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten. Look ahead with joy. Anticipate what I’m creating: I’ll create Jerusalem as sheer joy, create my people as pure delight. I’ll take joy in Jerusalem, take delight in my people: No more sounds of weeping in the city, no cries of anguish; No more babies dying in the cradle, or old people who don’t enjoy a full lifetime; One-hundredth birthdays will be considered normal— anything less will seem like a cheat. They’ll build houses and move in. They’ll plant fields and eat what they grow. No more building a house that some outsider takes over, No more planting fields that some enemy confiscates, For my people will be as long-lived as trees, my chosen ones will have satisfaction in their work. They won’t work and have nothing come of it, they won’t have children snatched out from under them. For they themselves are plantings blessed by God , with their children and grandchildren likewise God -blessed. Before they call out, I’ll answer. Before they’ve finished speaking, I’ll have heard. Wolf and lamb will graze the same meadow, lion and ox eat straw from the same trough, but snakes—they’ll get a diet of dirt! Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill anywhere on my Holy Mountain.” (Isaiah 65:17-25 MSG) Billy was looking forward to a better place. As nice as this beautiful butterfly life was he was still hunted and had to instinctively migrate, striving to get to a particular destination. He knew that was all part of God’s plan but he also knew, believed with his heart, that there was going to be an abundant life after this one in this world. As Billy’s excitement, eagerness and zeal grew. He flew up higher and higher into the heavens. Oh how he longed to just be there! He saw other creatures soring high, closer to where he believed heaven to be but, the heavens surrounded this planet he was on. He thought by going geographically higher he’d eventually reach the spiritual realm where The Creator must be. His little insect mind worked fine when following natural instinct but when he tried to exercise his own will, that is when things became very dangerous. Billy was far into the sky when a crow came out of no where. He had not noticed any danger because he was caught in the wind currents. At first he thought the black bird was on the same crusade, however, he quickly came to the realization that this creature of flight was no angel. This bird was on his own course of trying to catch & feed himself on butterfly meat. Billy’s small wings allowed him to gyrate in manners the crow could not turn. Billy found himself paralyzed in fear. This caused his wings to freeze up and his mind naturally lost control. At times he found himself free falling several feet then he’d come to some senses and flap his wings. The crow would miss his midflight snack but turn as quickly as he could to come back around and take another swipe at Billy. By the time the bird would come at him again Billy was able to do his sporadic movements again, indicative of a butterfly. He wondered how much length he had lost in his travels south as he was taking his own trip up, not North, West, East or South parallel to the ground but up, toward the sky above. His erratic movements and cascade toward the earth was enough for the bird to give up. Billy was not sure where the bird went, if he had taken out another insect, he just knew he was no longer at risk. He slowly came to rest on the ground, his eyes and antennas recovering from the spiral down. His little heart beat so strong he thought he was about to split open his torso. His mind raced and he found himself thanking God he was still alive. He didn’t have the desire to fly again and thought it best to just stay down here on the ground where it is safe. He pondered, maybe the ant was right! As he walked on all six legs he noticed a spider walking on eight legs. He thought, even questioned The Maker, “why didn’t ya make me like that.” Then he saw it jump several feet to another branch above him. He pondered some more, “WOW, or with the ability to jump!” He paused again to take in this other magnificent creature and its abilities. He marveled as the spider then shot silk webbing out, keeping it connected to a branch as it cascaded downward. “Oh! To travel with 8 legs, not just 6, and to jump AND to have the gift of being able to anchor myself with a string and make bridges to where I want and need to go…” Midsentence, mid-thought, for Billy was mid-air and mid-trip for the spider. Billy was horrified as he saw a small lizard leap at the spider, catching him in his mouth and eat him alive. He noticed a disappointed frog looking up as well. The frog spoke to Billy, “YA SEE?! If only I could run, not just hop but leap like that lizard, I would be truly satisfied!” Without having time to think Billy’s wings kicked into motion on an impulse, lifting him up and away. At that very moment he noticed a snake had snatched the frog off the log where Billy was just sitting comfortably next to him seconds earlier. Billy tried to repeat helpful mantras over and over to himself. He said, “COME ON! Come on, wings don’t fail me now!!!…think positive, think positive Billy. The Creator made all creatures for a reason and purpose. All CREATURES! He has a pla…a pla…a plan.” He was losing his breath, “He….hhhhHE hhhhHAsss a ah, PLhhhHan, He a…hhhas ah…. plan.”, he kept repeating that to assure himself.
His long flight away from those dangers led him to a road. On that highway Billy saw what we know as trucks and speeding cars. The air currents from the vehicles pulled on his fragile body, making it nearly impossible to stick to his flight pattern. He heard the voice of God again while in this new struggle for life. The voice nudged his little insect soul, “Remember, you are free go anywhere, just careful. Not everything and everywhere will benefit you.” Billy responded with, “GOD, there are so many dangers in World!” His creator said, “Yes, yes there are.” Billy ask, “Are there even more dangers now that I am a butterfly?” God answered, “No, no you are just more aware of them now because you’ve matured & you are now traveling more and further than when you were just a little boy, just a caterpillar.” Billy craved to ask another question that just seemed so natural to ask next, “But, but WHY? Why are there all these different creatures and dangers and turmoil and the strife of trying to just survive rather than just being able to thrive and enjoy life?” The answer seemed so simple and yet there was no way an insect could fully understand and comprehend God’s vastness and larger plan. God spoke softly, as if speaking only to Billy the butterfly,
“There is a reason behind every season, a purpose and plan for everything I’ve created under these heavens.”
Billy decided to trust in god a little more that day as he finally made it past the interstate highway. It was because of this decision he didn’t evaluate people and other insects by what they have or how they look. God explained, “The earth looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know.” Billy certainly didn’t look at Christ that way anymore. Now he looked inside, and what he saw was that anything, anyone, united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life Billy knew was gone; a new life burgeons! From that day on Billy traveled at the height and length across the earth as he was made to travel. While on his journey he exclaimed, “Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives.” In Billy’s flight his body, his very existence, gave God glory. He didn’t need to have the ability to speak with words to mankind or nature he just made sure he was who and what God wanted him to be, once a simple caterpillar, now a simple, yet beautifully structured flying insect, a butterfly. Upon getting closer to where he was meant to be Billy found other butterflies. He listened as he heard one saying to another, “God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.” The other asked, “How?” Billy was sure that the other butterfly knew but was perhaps getting confirmation. He heard the reply, “How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-21 MSG) A third one chimed in, “Humans discuss, argue and debate things that you would not even believe. Some even think it matters what rites they have performed, what rituals they have partaken in. They have tried to offer animals, grains, even children in an attempt to please God. Years and years ago they tried to follow God’s commands, thinking that alone would free them from the curse of death. What counts is whether they have been transformed into a new creation.” The other like creatures fluttered off, all exchanging farewell saying, “May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.” (Galatians 6:15-16 NLT)
Mid air another butterfly spoke with Billy, as if he was a long lost friend. He said, “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” (Ephesians 4:21-24 NLT) Billy said, “YES! Thank you I do and I will continue to do so, and you tooo.”, his voice tambered as it was caught in the wind. Upon exclaiming that Billy found him self lost in a cloud of thousands of other butterflies. It was as if there was one from every mile he had traveled. “WOW! Where are we?”, he asked. An answer came from the cluster, “WE ARE THERE!” He heard another’s realization, “WE ARE HERE!” Each glorious, wonderful and beautiful butterfly knew that they were living examples of God’s amazing ability, handiwork and craftsmanship. Billy shouted, “JUST AS I KNEW FROM THE DAY I WAS TRANSFORMED…How captivating it is to be part of His creation. Do all created things know we are part of His plan?” one of his fellow sojourniers answered, “They are all children but some don’t accept Him as Father. Some are disobedient, rebellious, or simply just don’t believe. For them, it as if God considers them His children but they deny Him being their Father.” Billy said, “So, this means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT). They all landed covering the ground that was their final destination. The rocks, the trees, all that was there had become a brilliantly dancing blanket of butterflies. Billy asked those around him about their journey, “Did you almost die on the way here?” A few shared their near death encounters with fish, humans, cats, other insects and even just the rain and wind. Billy’s adventure sounded mild in comparison with some of their tragic stories. One said, “Some of my friends were lost. They didn’t make it here but we’ll see them in friendlier skies beyond this world.” Billy said, “I was told there was more than just this atmosphere, this world.” Another one assured him and those so close they were touching wings now, “OH YES! Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” Billy could hear more than the slight patter of all the wings. He heard, “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile vessel, just tiny clay jars containing this great treasure.” Everything in Billy’s body identified in unison with all that surrounded him as he said, “This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves!” The one who had lost a few friends along the way said, “Yes! We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.” Billy thought about the dangers and near missed impacts with various other vehicles and critters as he logged this thousand mile trip. Another, right next to him now said, “We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” A group spoke all at the same time, saying the same words, “Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.” Billy felt such comfort that he was able to understand what they were all saying. Many times he had to read other creatures nonverbal cues and follow his own God given instincts but these creatures spoke directly to him, just as God had done. There was a feeling of nirvana. Everyone was so alive and their forces were united. He thought for a split second, “Nothing can stop us now…we could take over the world!” Then he remembered the importance of giving God the glory, not taking credit for what God did, His bigger, better plan. He noted what seemed like an older, more weathered new friend by his other side. He spoke slower and his voice was worn. Billy wondered, do I look like him? He listened as the creature spoke, fighting for each breath to get the words out, “So… we live…in the face of death, but… this has resulted in eternal life for you.” He was speaking to the earth. Another raspy voice got out, “But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, ‘I believed in God, so I spoke.’ We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you.” Billy remembered the little girl he saw in the cemetery and also pictured a little boy he saw once in a tree one day while climbing. Billy spoke as if those children could hear him as he said, “All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.” The one who had lost so much and was one of the few that survived the trip after witnessing others not making it cried out, “THAT IS WHY! That is why we never give up.” Billy felt a sudden inability to move his wings. He saw some of the once most beautiful around him beginning to shrivel up. Billy asked what he thought was an old-timer, “Have…have we come all this way…have we come here, this far to just…die?” It was as if the one Billy thought was old could not just hear Billy’s words, but read his thoughts as he answered, “I am the same age as you. We’ve lived the same section and we have been part of this same season. We were on the same migration. I’ve seen you before. We ventured over some of the same sections of earth, fields and flowers.” Billy communicated one on one with this one, although their numbers went on for miles. With surprise in his voice Billy said, “Oh, oh, I…I didn’t recognize you, perhaps I never saw you, never noticed or got you mixed up with the others. There are so many HUH?! …ah, I…can I ask you…do my wings look funny to you? I can’t seem to…to move them like I was just moments ago.” The one he was speaking to did not answer. Billy thought he was too tired, or perhaps just didn’t want to speak. A new one landed nearly on top of Billy, “Woe, getting crowded here huh?” Billy saw some falling now, not flying but, falling from the sides or trees around them. He now noticed his voice was raspy and rough like the other one had been. He strained as he asked the newer one, “Hey, can you, new young friend, can you tell me if that guy I was talking to still awake?” The new one was no younger than Billy himself. He blew a butterfly kiss to the one Billy was referring to then answer Billy, “No, he sleeps, but not as you suppose to be sleeping.” Billy didn’t have to ask his earlier question. He now knew, they all came here… to die” By this time there were millions of butterflies covering everything in sight. Their intricate designs and detailed colors were now a sea of the creator’s one of a kind original art work. Billy passed on his knowledge to those he became buried under,
“Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” Others joined their voices in a harmonious choir, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:4-18 NLT) The sunlight was now blocked from Billy by all the butterflies piling above him. The voices above were muted but he could still hear some saying, “We are there.” Another said, “We are here!” He recalled moments ago hearing the same words as more and more arrived with him. He reminisced as he heard some speaking of their journey. He cherished hearing, once again, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” ( 2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV) Again, Billy was able to no longer regard things from a worldly point of view. Just as he had experienced a complete metamorphosis from the life of a caterpillar into the life of a butterfly he was now embracing a newness beyond his short temporary lifespan in this world and into eternal life in the next.
Most of them did not die in Mexico they were just hibernating and will fly back north but just a small portion of the distance they flew down, only making it to the Southwest U.S. to procreate the next generation.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 NIV http://bible.com/111/2co.5.16-21.NIV
THE END IS ONLY THE BEGINNING
If you enjoyed this story you’ll want to read “SEASON OF JAIL” and the sequel “SEASON OF PRISON” – A novel about a man living out his faith during a season of incarceration. Online publication at https://tombeetlebailey.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/edit-seasonedch-1-15/ And
My deepest thanks to my wife Rhonda for the love we share in every season of life.
Also to all of my dear children: Kyri, Alexx, Olivia, Madi, Abbey, Christopher and Carol-Ann who remind me of the simple childlike faith God desires, as well as, my whole family and friends for all their support.
For a YouTube playlist of stories being read: My stories: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnjQOVtw61eiFv27rv2rhA3-8U8EyDXya
For a list of other stories go to: https://tombeetlebailey.wordpress.com/stories-poems-and-art/
This story or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise – without prior written permission of the publisher. This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or businesses in practice, are purely coincidental. The views expressed here are my own, as are whatever factual errors exist in the text.
Thanks for reading, Beetle
For what inspired this story go to 👉Billy’s Background