Alone…a single egg, perhaps on a chokecherry leaf. Alone for a week. Exposed to predators. Camouflage its only protection. Then a miracle, the egg hatches. The caterpillar’s first meal is its eggshell. It is alone when it ingests its first meal. For the next 20-30 days it eats-alone. It dines on the leaves of trees, birch, willow, ash, and birch in the north adding the magnolia and tulip trees in the south.
It begins caterpillar life looking amazingly like bird droppings. As it grows, it turns green with yellow/black spots that appear to be eyes. These repel most predators. It solitary life takes another camouflage turn as the caterpillar pupates. Alone again, this time on a branch, its coloration and shape miraculously resemble the twig it is attached to. If the pupa develops in spring 10-20 days will pass before an adult Tiger Swallowtail emerges. If the pupa stage begins in fall, it is likely it will overwinter in this state enduring freezing temperatures and winter storms-alone. The adult female shown in the photos will live to mate and lay eggs, its life span lasting about two weeks.
Alone, in the case of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail it means unaided, without help even solo. How does a small creature, the adult butterfly is only 3-5 inches in size, survive in nature- alone?
The answer comes from the other meaning of the word “alone”: only, and no one else.
God alone (only) guides each and all Tiger swallowtail through each day of their life cycles. The Psalmist knew it was God alone. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. Psalm 86:10 Is God active in each small detail of His creation today at this moment? Yes. While some may dispute this claim, it is undeniable. Search for the next butterfly while you are outside next time. As you observe it, remind yourself that it lives each part of its life cycle, alone-but not alone. God’s hand is on every butterfly from egg to adult over the whole earth!
Stop and think about the marvel of this. God directs the life of all things on earth. That’s because He is sovereign. With you and me He does things differently. We are made in His image. He sent His Son Jesus to die for the sins of the world. If He cares for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, how much more does he love and care for you? We are never alone. Our hope is God alone.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. Psalm 62:5