Dragonflies are among my favorite insects. I have always enjoyed their acrobatics, but one of the first times I really became a fan was when I was fishing in Canada.
A cousin and I had been getting eaten up by mosquitoes when a “flight” of five or six dragonflies joined us. At first we thought they were just dodging around us as they darted to and fro while we fished, but then an interesting thing happened. One snatched a mosquito right off of my arm. In a few minutes the mosquitoes were gone—the dragonflies had eaten them all!
To me, the most interesting thing about dragonflies is their life cycle. When we think about dragonflies, we might think they are the fighter jets of the insect world: fast-moving, highly maneuverable insects that control each of their four wings separately. But this is not how we should think of them.
Dragonflies spend the vast majority of their lives as nymphs. You might have seen these nymphs and not realized what they were, but more than likely you have passed them by in lakes, rivers, or streams. Dragonflies spend up to four years living in the underwater muck. Like their parents, nymphs are voracious predators of any other larvae or nymphs they catch in the muck, but just like adult dragonflies, they are harmless to humans. God has given them a body shaped like a decaying leaf, so they seem to disappear in the clutter on the bottom of a lake or river. Once a nymph matures, it climbs up a weed, dock, or lily pad, and an adult dragonfly emerges.
To me this seems like the way we should view our lives. We tend to think of ourselves as adult dragonflies, but in reality we are nymphs. We spend our lives in the muck, but we don’t know any differently. But someday we will! Someday Jesus will come again, all of the sin and pain and sadness we experience on this earth will fall away, and creation will be restored. We will experience something we cannot even imagine at this point. We will be the dragonflies!
So the next time you see a dragonfly, remember: restoration is coming!
About the Author
Clayton Lubbers teaches science at Byron Center Christian School and has been teaching for over 25 years. He loves the outdoors and commonly meets and sees God while hunting, fishing, and exploring creation.