Woolly Bears

January 15, 2015
by Joel Jongkind

When I went for my four-kilometre daily walks this past autumn, I would go through an area with apple orchards on both sides of the road. It was a beautiful sight, with apples ripe on the trees. There were always several things which would get my attention. One day, I saw some Woolly Bear caterpillars (sometimes called Fuzzy Bears) crossing the road. These are the caterpillars which have brown and black stripes and are sometimes thought of as indicators of a long or short winter, depending on the length of the stripes. There were quite a number of them this year, and this is what I learned about them on Wikipedia:

    The Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella) can be found in many cold regions, including the Arctic. The banded Woolly Bear larva emerges from the egg in the fall and overwinters in its caterpillar form, when it literally freezes solid. It survives being frozen by producing a cryoprotectant in its tissues. In the spring, it thaws out and emerges to pupate. Once it emerges from its pupa as a moth, it has only days to find a mate.

    In most temperate climates, caterpillars become moths within months of hatching, but in the Arctic the summer period for vegetative growth — and hence feeding — is so short that the Woolly Bear must feed for several summers, freezing again each winter before finally pupating. Some are known to live through as many as fourteen winters.

Some of these caterpillars were crossing the road that I walked on, a long trip for such a little creature. Every once in a while, a car would come along, and they would be blown back by the turbulence created by the car. They would tumble around for a bit, find their footing again, and carry on with their journey.

As I saw this happen, I thought about the times when we are blown off our Christian path in life. So often, we read anti-Christian articles and then, little or sometimes bigger thoughts of doubt seem to blow us off our chosen course.

Paul wrote about this to the church in Ephesus:

Ephesians 4:14 – We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting. (NKJV)

When the winds of doubt start to blow, we should remember these words of Paul:

Romans 8:35-39 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV)

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray that when the winds of worry and the storms of life blow us off our road of faith, when thoughts of doubt enter our minds, You will give us the assurance that through it all, You are with us. We offer this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author:

Joel Jongkind <austria67@bmts.com>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    I will do what I can!


    A good reminder Joel. Thanks for sharing.


    Joel;
    Well stated! I trust you a happy and healthy 2015.


    Thank you for this devotional. I have always liked those caterpillars, it nice to know something more about them.


    Dear Joel:
    Keep writing devotionals. Usually as I read I can guess which ones you have written, but this one had me fooled.
    That was very interesting about the caterpillars. I learned something new today.


    Thank you for the encouraging devotion.
    I too love my jungle which reminds me of God’s love and care.
    Can’t wait to see my cherries, apples, pears, apricots, raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries, … come back to life in the spring. Shalom!


    Joel,
    Your description will stick in my mind all day! It’s so well put. I’ll be seeing those poor wooly caterpillars tossed around by the turbulence of passing vehicles. It’ll surely keep me mindful of my own fragility, and also the terrible power of deceit and trickery coming at any time from any direction. I receive your reading as an encouragement to keep fixed on my dear Lord who will never be separated from me – even in the worst turbulence.


    Thank you for your devotional it reminds me of another Joel who was apart of a church my husband and Iwe were members of for many years.
    When I think of your devotional I think of our journey to find a new church family and church to worship our Lord in. We have found where God would have us serve.
    The interesting fact about the Woolly Bears and their migration is so like our. I always say when having to make a decision, that we have a plan, God has a plan, — God’s is never wrong.


    Thank you Joel.
    On the weekend there was a story about a football player out fishing in the sea, his boat on automatic pilot. He fell into the water, the boat kept moving and he miraculously survived, swimming for 17 hours to shore. In his public statement he spoke and was very emotional, saying he was alone out there. I thought “No you weren’t, God was with you.” Oftentimes players, actors, and others give Thanks to their Higher Power, usually God, for whatever it is they went through, won, or gained. I wondered if he just forgot to do so or if he doesn’t believe in any higher power.


    Hey Joel,
    A great lesson on not only the caterpillars but also for us as well.
    Enjoyed the analogy, it made you think.
    God bless.


    Thank you for your wonderful devotional this morning.
    God bless you.

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