Once upon a time in a little thicket lived a young larva called Niyokosa(1). Accustomed to the surface of things, the caterpillar world was all he knew. He also knew that this world blinds, binds and grinds as it teaches his species the art of survival. It's a life filled with testing. The kind of class that you wouldn't want to fail because that would mean losing your life.
Niyokosa's world thrived on a materialistic economy. Leaves were attached to the original sin, and were the main dietary package. Depending on how much of it you had, you could be infested with pride, negligence, hatred and envy. You'd have the desire to incite racism, tribalism and drunken behavior. You'd be given a pass into the clubs and parties hosted by the lecherous twins: adultery and fornication – am sure you're also acquainted with these brands in the human world. In the caterpillar world, many have used the power in the leaves also to burst blasphemous, profane and deceitful expressions. They grow so protective and defensive, and build monumental prickly walls and hurt anyone they come close to.
He knew that life as a caterpillar could look attractive and easy from the outside but, from the inside it was disgusting and gooey. Tired of this, Niyokosa begun to look for a better world where he could fly free. Where he could just flutter-by without a caterpillar care in the world. Unlike most of his peers, his thoughts were lepidoptera(2).
Slowly but surely, Niyokosa started to realize another world besides the caterpillar’s. The thoughts he had that were guided by a certain voice would refrain him from doing what every other caterpillar was up to. He differentiated right from wrong. He let go of offense. The voice that spoke to him started to lead him into another world. It told him that there was more than what met the eye – that although he couldn’t see it in the moment, there was in fact something more. He decided to heed that voice and metamorphosis started taking place in Niyokosa's life.
The voice told Niyokosa, “You are no longer a slave to the sluggish world you live in. Truly, you are a butterfly in a caterpillar world. You are not of it.” This voice was the Holy Spirit. He continued, “In order for you to fly, and keep doing it, you will need to stick to the basic principles and apply them well. The first principle is to know the map. This is the Word of God. Having it in your mind, and in your heart. That way, you will not get lost. The second one is to always charge your wings. This is done through prayer, where you receive energy to sustain your flight. The third principle is fellowship with other butterflies. Surround yourself with good company, learn and share with one another.”
Niyokosa followed these basic principles, and for as long as he did, he lived a fulfilled life, with peace in his soul. He was a satisfied butterfly. Soon as he began to get comfortable, he found himself drifting away from the basics. He became weak and unable to fly because his wings weren’t charged. All of a sudden, the caterpillar world he was surrounded by started to gain momentum in his life. His joy, peace and satisfaction began to shake. He began to regress into being a caterpillar. He felt he was detached from the Holy Spirit. But amidst confusion and discouragement, he began to praise God. And when he tuned in, he realized the voice was actually still there. Despite his failures, God gave Him a second chance and offered him salvation. His wings were restored as if they had never weakened.
Butterfly Nation are those who have been transformed, made a new creation by the saving grace of Christ. They are those who might find themselves in unlikely situations, yet still praise. They are those addicted to the Holy Spirit. They are those who fly high, unaltered by gravity and laws of this world trying to bring them down!
1. Niyokosa means something tough or hard in Nyanja – a language widely spoken in Zambia
2. Lepidoptera are any of a large order of insects comprising of butterflies, moths, and skippers that s adults have four broad or lanceolate wings usually covered with minute overlapping and often brightly colored scales and that as larvae are caterpillars – Merriam-Webster Dict.