Thursday, September 1, 2022

Lessons From a Monarch


By Donna Bucher

I am directionally challenged. This seems ludicrous given I love maps, excel at geography and am known by my colleagues as "the human GPS". All of our hospice physicians and NPs call me when they get lost out seeing patients in their homes!

Yet I often make wrong turns and end up lost when going somewhere new.

Which is why I am awestruck by the monarch butterflies’ 3000 mile migration each year!

As September arrives where I live, monarch butterflies prepare for migration. Uniquely, monarch butterflies own the distinction of the only butterfly species making a round trip migration similar to birds.

Unlike other butterflies which overwinter as larvae, pupae, or even as adults in some species, monarchs cannot survive the cold winters of northern climates.

Each monarch butterfly only makes this round trip once in its lifetime. Navigating an incredible journey, with remarkable precision to a destination never seen before. Adults die in the northern climates leaving their offspring to migrate south to the place of their ancestors.

After overwintering, they return to their place of origin in the north. Though relocated by scientists or blown off course by trade winds, they still end up in the right place. Scientists believe the monarch truly has intelligent navigation skills, using the angle of sunlight and the earth's magnetic field.

Pondering the magnificence of the monarch butterfly and its navigation skills points to a majestic Creator. If God engineered such intricacy and splendor into a butterfly, creating man in His image is beyond our understanding.

Indeed, "what is man, that He is mindful of us?" (Psalm 8:4)

 God often points us to creation to learn of Him. Considering the monarch butterfly, my mind rested on a few truths. Beyond the beautiful picture of transformation butterflies represent, this particular butterfly speaks of God's faithfulness in new ways.


Spiritual Maturity

Another aspect of the monarch butterfly's design is its nourishment. The caterpillar and butterfly eat the milkweed plant exclusively. The milkweed plant contains an alkaloid compound making the insect noxious to birds who try eating it.

God provides an exclusive spiritual food for us too, His Word. When we study the Bible, learning to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15), we mature spiritually.

Additionally, digesting His truth, memorizing, and applying it, protects us from harmful ways, sinful desires, and the enemy of our souls.


Spiritual Journey

Since the adult parents of young monarch butterflies die in the northern climate, how do the young monarchs know about migration?

How do they know when to leave, where to go?

When to come back?

Imagine such a fragile insect navigating an incredible journey at times so exact each year, tourists show up to see them.

In the same way, God guides, directs, and enables us for fulfilling our God given purpose. Just as the monarchs make a journey to a place they have never seen, we also travel to a place never before seen.

The Good Shepherd leads us not only in paths on this earth, but ultimately to our final destination with Him.


Spiritual Change

Thanks to metamorphosis, the butterfly serves as a beautiful picture of spiritual transformation. The transformation that begins with a caterpillar and ends with a completely different creature!

Many of us recall the biblical object lesson using a butterfly to explain the transformation taking place at salvation, as we become "new creatures" in Christ.

The monarch butterfly not only undergoes transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, but the migration alters its size and wing span.

This reminds me of the process of sanctification. The lifelong process of conforming to the image of Christ, so when we see Him, we shall be like Him. (1 John 3:2)

The monarch butterfly reminds us of God's tremendous faithfulness as He provides, guides, and enables us to fulfill His good purposes. As we watch the monarch bring glory to God, we find hope and confidence that we too, will be transformed just as our Sovereign God planned.


How are you different today than when you first accepted Christ?

How can you see God providing in specific ways to enable the fulfillment of his purposes for your life?


Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


If you enjoyed this post, please share on social media with the buttons below!

Photo from


  1. Great post, Donna! I'm fascinated by these butterflies too. We can learn so much from them!

  2. Thank you, Sarah! I am always fascinated with how God reveals Himself to us through His creation!


Thank you for stopping by, we love hearing from you. Please feel free to contact us with any prayer requests or questions by commenting below or emailing us at the About Us page.