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Butterflies in Distress  

It was hard to miss, even walking at the brisk pace I try to maintain on my early morning walks.  There on the side of the road was a magnificent butterfly.  Black and spotted and iridescent, I saw majesty in every flex of its silken wings.

My friend Chris, an outdoor guy with considerable experience, told me I was staring at an Eastern Black Swallowtail.  I had more time to study this creature than I should have.  Because when it attempted to fly, it fluttered and stuttered—but went nowhere. Yet the thing kept trying to get airborne anyway.  Try after try, it failed to leave the ground.

Why? I wondered.  Upon close inspection, the wings appeared to be in great shape—no dings in either antenna.  From what I could see, the head looked fine, and the legs seemed in place.  

The longer I watched its ill-fated flight attempts, the more obvious it became.  This was a butterfly in distress.

Sadly, I was unable to help. So I walked on, wondering what was to become of my non-flying friend. 

On the breeze of that early morning, a thought drifted into my mind.  There is hardly a day that goes by that you and I don’t walk past butterflies in distress.  Not the tiny ones with wings.  I speak of the tall ones on two legs. 

It’s the lady next door, hemorrhaging over the divorce she never wanted.

It’s the friend who got the disturbing phone call from the doctor’s office.

They are often hard to spot because they look just fine on the outside.  Watch long enough, and you'll see that they flutter and stutter—but get nowhere.  I submit...

  • There are butterflies in distress where you work.
  • There are butterflies in distress where you worship.
  • There are butterflies in distress where you live. 

Maybe it’s your spouse.  Or your daughter.  Or your son.  Or even yourself.

We cannot fix them--only Christ can. But we dare not ignore them. Ours is to notice. To care.  To call. To pray. To encourage. But it all begins with seeing them on the side of the road.

Butterflies in distress—they’re everywhere.


Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.  

–Galatians 6:2





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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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Jon Gauger Media 2016