Butterflies & Trusting God

Today's blog features a heart-felt message and an original illustration by our very own Dan Lietha. We invite you to see God in this timely message.

Scripture is there to guide us and give us much needed reminders of the hope we have in Christ. But do we always remember to turn to God and His Word in the midst of our troubles?

These last couple of years have been difficult for many—heartbreaking illnesses, loss of loved ones, isolation, and stress. Indeed, our lives have been changed. But through it all, many Christians have moved forward, day by day, holding on to the promises and reassurance of God’s Word. Scripture is there to guide us and give us much needed reminders of the hope we have in Christ. But do we always remember to turn to God and His Word in the midst of our troubles?
Christian author and speaker, Joni Eareckson Tada, has modeled something that I have found encouraging and helpful in this area. Let's start with some background on her story for those who aren’t familiar with Joni (pronounced, Johnny). In 1967, at age 17, she broke her neck in a diving accident while swimming and became a quadriplegic—paralyzed from the shoulders down. Now at age 71, she has spent the last 54 years in a wheelchair.
Unbelievably (humanly speaking), this great tragedy in her life has become an inspiration to many as she, despite her physical limitations, has achieved by God’s grace an amazing list of accomplishments. Here are just a few of them:
 
  • Author of over 48 books on disability and the Christian faith
  • Singer that has recorded several musical albums
  • Actor who starred as herself in a biographical movie
  • Talented illustrator (She draws and paints with a pencil or brush in her mouth.)
  • Internationally known speaker
  • Founder of the ministry, Joni and Friends
  • Host of the radio program, Joni and Friends, which is heard on over 1000 broadcast outlets around the world
  • International advocate for people with disabilities
 
She has also been married to her husband, Ken Tada, since 1982.
These many accomplishments are very inspiring, but even more so when you hear Joni talk about the deep dark valleys of depression she has gone through. She is very open about her early days of coming to grips with the new life limitations after her accident. Initially, she went through a deep depression, feeling her life was over and should be ended. And many times since—living the life of a quadriplegic—she has had low times.
When you hear her speak on her radio program or to audiences at a conference, she is just so bubbly and positively joyful. One might simply conclude that some people are naturally more positive than others, and that she must be one of them. Yet, she would be the first one to tell you that she has worked at it—every … single … day. She has hidden God’s Word in her heart (Psalm 119:11) through much time spent in Scripture, and she is constantly delighting in God (Psalm 40:8) and putting into practice the things she learns from God’s Word. One of the ways she does this caught my attention many years ago.
I remember Joni saying that one day she was praying and praising God for His grace and mercy in her life, and she felt a great peace and joy flood her soul. At that moment, a butterfly fluttered close by her. She said it was to her a symbol of God’s love and reassurance. Since that day, there have been many times when Joni has had a difficult day and a butterfly will flutter by, triggering thoughts of God's faithfulness. What a blessing! These butterflies have shown up at times in the weirdest places, such as the tops of high buildings, and Joni is so thankful to God for these little reminders of His care for us.

How many times have I taken common things for granted that I could be, and should be, thanking God for?

Some could say butterflies are not uncommon, and they fly by all of us—butterflies are nothing special. But Joni chooses not to see it that way. Her love for God and desire to give Him credit and praise (Psalm 9:1) for even a simple butterfly fly-by is what caught my attention. Her perspective of thankfulness (Psalm 106:1) as she endures life with difficulties that I know nothing about challenges me and encourages me.  How many times have I taken common things for granted that I could be, and should be, thanking God for? Not only have I missed the opportunity to praise our Creator, but I also have missed the blessing of having my perspective refocused on eternally important things.
It was in my childhood that I first heard Joni tell of her butterfly encounters at moments of need in her life, and it has stuck with me. Over the years, I’ve collected a few visual things of my own similar to Joni’s butterflies, and they have helped me to be more thankful. At times, seeing these items has snapped me out of selfish self-focus from my problems of the moment.
One of them is a red cardinal. When a flash of bright red zips by, it triggers a thankfulness for my ability to see vibrant colors and gives me a new appreciation for God's care and the creation He  made  for us. I like cardinals, and they are fun to see, but adding this meaning to their unexpected appearances makes them so much more special. Other things that cross my path from time to time have become visual cues to remind me to pray for friends. This practice of using visual reminders to praise God and be thankful to Him has been a great blessing to me. Thank you, Lord, for the reminders you send my way.

Do you have things in your life that prompt you to look beyond the troubles of the moment?

 We live in a world with many troubles, and yet we serve a God that is greater than any trouble we may face. Noticing “triggers” that encourage us to think of God more and to be thankful to Him will help us to more naturally live out Proverbs 3:5,6 (NKJV):

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him.
And He shall make straight your paths.

Author Bio:
Dan Lietha joined Reasons for Hope in 2019 as our cartoonist and illustrator, developing images and speaker slides that challenge viewers to think biblically.  “Truth Jabs” is his newest cartoon feature, and he also produces an online educational video series called “Draw It & Know It!” instructing viewers in how to draw animals and think about them with a biblical worldview. Dan loves camp ministry and has spoken at camps and other venues over the past 15 years.  He lives in northern Kentucky with his wife, Marcia, and daughter, Hannah.
If you seek answers to questions you or others may have, we invite you to purchase Did Jesus Commit Suicide? And 27 Other Questions Teens Are Asking About the Bible (that adults want to know, too). To order, click HERE.
To encourage you in your walk with Christ, download our free app where you will find hundreds of digital resources to train and equip you in staying bold in your faith. Just click HERE, and look for the blue asterisk on the black background.

No Comments


Recent

Archive

Categories

Tags

1 Chronicles 16:8-12 1 Chronicles 22:14 1 Chronicles 29:11 1 Corinthians 10:31 1 Corinthians 13 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 1 Corinthians 15:21 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 1 Corinthians 15:33 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 1 John 2:15-17 1 John 4:10 1 John 4:19 1 Peter 3:15 1 Peter 4:12-13 1 Peter 4:12-19 1 Peter 5:10 1 Thessalonians 5:11 1 Timothy 6:10 1 Timothy 6:3-10 100 miles 1Peter 1:17-21 2 Chronicles 9:13-29 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 2 Corinthians 3:17 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Peter 3:9 2 Samuel 23:8-12 2 Timothy 1:7 2 Timothy 2:15 2 Timothy 3:12 2 Timothy 3:16-17 2 Timothy 4:11 25% are staying 50k 55-mile race Abraham was very rich. Abuja Acts 11 Acts 13 and 15 Acts 17:11 Acts 1:8 Acts 9 Albert Einstein America waited too long. Apostle Peter Barna poll Barnabas Be a Berean Be bold! Be bold Be happy! Be part of the process. Be still and know that I am God Best Evidence God Created Bible Bob Gillespie Brian Miller CRT Candace Nordine Carl Kerby Jr. Carl Kerby Choosing for Two Christ in me Christ opened my eyes. Christian witness Chruch Colossians 1:27 Colossians 2:14 Colossians 3:17 Colossians 3:1 Colossians 4:5-6 Columbo Tactic D. Mark Jacobs Jr. Dan Lietha Dave Glander David Tautofi DeBunked 15 DeBunked TV DeBunked Deuteronomy 11:13 Deuteronomy 6:6-7 Deuteronomy 6:6-9 Did Jesus Commit Suicide? Dr. Andrew Fabich Dr. Francis Schaeffer Dr. Jason Lisle Dr. William Beal Draa Mackey Easter Ecclesiastes 12:13 Ecclesiastes 4:10 Eleazar Ephesians 1:13-14 Ephesians 3:17-18 Ephesians 3:19-21 Ephesians 4:29 Ephesians 5:15-17 Ephesians 6:4 Exodus 17:11 Exodus 17:12 Exodus 33:14 Facing the Giants Frank Figueroa Galatians 2:20 Galatians 5:1 Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 6:9 Gen Z Genesis 13:1-2 Genesis 1:14-15 Genesis 1:27 Genesis 1:31 Genesis 3:10 Genesis 3 Glendive Montana God created you God is rich in mercy God loves us. God loves you God won the battle God-shaped vacuum God's Word God's character God's joy God's plan God's pursuit God\'s Word God\'s character God\'s joy God\'s plan God\'s pursuit God\\\'s character God\\\'s joy God\\\'s plan God\\\'s pursuit God\\\\\\\'s character God\\\\\\\'s joy God\\\\\\\'s plan God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s character God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s plan God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s character God\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s plan Gods Word is truth Gods Word Gods care Gods character Gods divine plan Gods light Gods love story Gods plan of redemption Gods plan Gods wisdom Good Shepherd Gospel message Grammar matters Groggy Hawaii He is always faithful. Heaven Hebrews 10:19-22 Hebrews 11 Hebrews 12:1-3 Hebrews 12 Hebrews 13:5-6 Hebrews 13:5 Hebrews 13:8 Hebrews 7:25 Hell His glory Holly Varnum Holy Spirit How can I fight and overcome fear? Hubble Huntsman Center I Peter 3:15 IMPACT Impact Curriculum Is it okay for a Christian to be rich? Is life good? Isaiah 26:3-4 Isaiah 40:28-31 Isaiah 40:29 Isaiah 40:31 Isaiah 41 Isaiah 43:1 Isaiah 45:9a Isaiah 55:8-9 Isaiah 55:8 Isaiah 64:8 It is well with my soul Jamaica James 1:12 James 1:15 James 1:17 James 1:2 James 4:10 January 2022 Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah 29:13 Jesus and me Jesus chose to die. Jesus comforts the broken-hearted. Jesus saw their faith Job 1:3 Job 2:8 John 10:17-18 John 10:27 John 11:25 John 14:6 John 15:13 John 15:16a John 16:33 John 1:12 John 1:35-42 John 3:16-17 John 3:16 John 8:32 John 8:36 John Mark John Ray Joni Eareckson Tada Joni and Friends Joseph A. Kennedy Joshua 1:9 Joshua 22:5 Joshua 24:15 Juan Valdes Justice Kaimuki Bulldogs Kaimuki High School King David King Solomon Know It! Live It! Share It! Lacey Reitz Lamentations 3:22-24 Leviticus 18:24-30 Leviticus 25:23 Liberty Institute Life in layers Life is good because God is good. Life is good Listen to His voice. Listen Loose the Lion Luke 12:12 Luke 18:1 Luke 22:32 Luke 5:1-11 MTD Malachi 3:3 Malachi 3:6 Mark 10:8 Mark 16:15 Mark 1:16-18 Mark 2:3-5 Mark 5:19 Mark 6:31 Martin Luther Master Potter Matthew 10:20 Matthew 10:32 Matthew 11:28-29 Matthew 11:28 Matthew 11:29-30 Matthew 11:29 Matthew 13 Matthew 14:22-33 Matthew 16:24 Matthew 19:16-24 Matthew 19:23-24 Matthew 27:75 Matthew 28:18-20 Matthew 4:18-20 Matthew 5:13 Matthew 5:16 Matthew 6:19-20 Matthew 6:19 Matthew 6:27 Matthew 6:33 Matthew 9:35 May 15 1987 Memory Lane Mere Christianity Mic'd Up Mic\'d Up Mic\\\'d Up Mic\\\\\\\'d Up Mic\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'d Up Michigan State University Money is their god. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism Mosaic NRB National Religious Broadcasters Nigeria Parable of the sower Pastor Baba Peter Philippians 1:6 Philippians 2:3-4 Philippians 3:12-16 Philippians 3:7-8 Philippians 4:6-7 Philippians 4:8 Plan C Please say Yes! Please say "Yes!" Please say \"Yes!\" Please say \\\"Yes!\\\" Potter Proverbs 12:26 Proverbs 14:12 Proverbs 15:4 Proverbs 16:3 Proverbs 18:12 Proverbs 18:24 Proverbs 19:21 Proverbs 1:20 Proverbs 3:5-6 Psalm 100:5 Psalm 103:2-5 Psalm 119:105 Psalm 119:11 Psalm 119:160 Psalm 122:1 Psalm 138:1-2 Psalm 139:14 Psalm 139:17 Psalm 13:6 Psalm 147:4 Psalm 16:11 Psalm 18:1-2 Psalm 19:1 Psalm 1:1 Psalm 23:1 Psalm 23:2 Psalm 23:4 Psalm 23:6 Psalm 27 Psalm 34:19 Psalm 40:2 Psalm 40:8 Psalm 42 Psalm 68:19 Psalm 69:9a Psalm 8:3 Psalm 8:4 Psalm 92:1-4 Pursued Put God first Reasons for Hope in the Mosaic of Your Life Reasons for Hope* Reasons for Hope Respond to God's voice Respond to God\'s voice Respond to God\\\'s voice Respond to God\\\\\\\'s voice Resurrection RforH Romans 10:14 Romans 10:15 Romans 10:9-10 Romans 10:9 Romans 12:1-2 Romans 12:9-21 Romans 1:16 Romans 3:23 Romans 5:12 Romans 5:17 Romans 6:23 Romans 8:14 Romans 8:26 Romans 8:28 Sanctity of Life Schaftlein Report Scriptures September 11 Shelby Pruitt Spurgeon Stay bold! Stay bold Supreme Court Surprised by Joy The Right Ingredients The Screwtape Letters There is no truth Think before you post. TikTok Tish Kerby Trust His heart Trusting God Use God's Word correctly. Use God\'s Word correctly. Wade Wacker Wealthy Christians What is a Christian? What is my purpose? Who Made God? Why am I here? Why did Jesus have to die? Wooed Word of God Your grace still amazes me. a little at a time a process; not an event abortion absolute truth accepting help achieving the impossible angry another child of God struggling answering questions antidote to fear anxious apologetics astronomy astrophysics be not afraid biblical Christianity biblical creationist biblical perspective biblical worldview blindfold boldness bold brokenness butterfly caged called to encourage cancellation cease striving certainty challenge character check your attitude children clay coercion come alongside comfort zone comfortable Christian commas save lives compromised confidence confused conjunction created in Gods image critical race theory critical thinking curriculum cut the head off the snake debate defend depressed depression design of the eye desperate passion dinosaur dig don't fight alone don't stop don\'t fight alone don\'t stop don\\\'t fight alone don\\\'t stop don\\\\\\\'t stop dont stop doubt encouragement entrusted by God to do good eternal life eternity without God evangelism examine the scriptures eye fair and impartial faith walk family circle family first fear not fearfully and wonderfully made fear feeling lost feeling overwhelmed filled with joy and worship flight cancelled football coach former athiest freedom of choice galaxies give a defense give thanks glory in His holy name good news of Jesus Christ good news grace gratitude grog having conversations heroes of the faith hope human eye humble ourselves illness impact lives impact your teammates positively impulsive incomprehensible God isolation keep moving keep progressing largest church in the world layers light year speed like Christ live in freedom loss of loved ones love of money love made for another world made in His image marriage memories memorization without application memorizing Scripture missing opportunities more like Christ multiple meanings mystical truth never compromised no complaints no hope no pain no gain no quitting nonconformist not a fetus not ashamed objective right and wrong one foot in front of the other opened doors opportunity to bring hope overwhelming distance part of a team passionate patience patriotism paying it forward persecution persevere perspective physics plans positive messages postgame prayer potsherd pottery potter power of the Word praying preposition progress quadriplegic quiet time reach the younger generation reality exists reality reassurance red cardinal redemptive work of Christ refining refocus what church looks like relationship with God relentless forward motion represent Christ resolutions rest right time right words root of all evil sacrifice salvation see God move seed experiment seek the Lord shine a light silversmith situation slavery social media son of encouragement speak life speak your truth spiritual apathy spiritual harvest stagnant church stand boldly on the Word of God stand up against evil star-gazing starstruck stars step by step stranded stress statistics stress study for yourself suffering symbol of God's love and reassurance symbol of God\'s love and reassurance symbol of God\\\'s love and reassurance symbol of God\\\\\\\'s love and reassurance symbol of Gods love and reassurance teaching science telescope thankful the apple of his eye the finish line the lion will defend itself the seeing eye think for yourself thriving in Christ traditions traffic trials tribulation troubles truth turn to God ultamarathon ultrarunner unborn child uncage the Lion uncertain uncover the truth unfair universe unpredictable use your gift visual reminders wethering the storm where two worlds collide windows to the soul worldview worth fighting for your circle matters youth ministry youth zeal for worship