Life cycle of cicada is example of perseverance
I grew up seeing the husks of emerged cicadas hanging on pretty much every outside surface. And, of course, I’d see the cicadas themselves flying about.
But I had never seen one actually emerging from its exoskeleton until this weekend when I found a cicada hanging out of the hardening shell of its old body.
My wife was as excited as I was, but I headed straight to my camera and tripod, and began shooting images of the insect as it struggled to free itself.
It was an amazing process to watch, as the cicada freed its wings and unfolded them to begin drying. Within moments, the cicada was perched atop its skin.
I couldn’t help but think of the symbolism of this process: Life is all about change, and often the trials we go through are simply precursors to a new and transformed life.
Struggle is just part of life, and that is no clearer seen than in the life cycle of the lowly cicada. Think about it: A cicada (which is of the insect order Homoptera) begins its life when it hatches from an egg, after which it must burrow into the ground where it will spend years feeding off the moisture in plant roots.
And then it has to dig its way out of the ground so the molting process can begin. As its exoskeleton begins to harden, the insect inside must crack this skin and fight its way out — or it will die.
Only when it has dragged itself out of its old body covering is the cicada a fully mature adult, with wings that allows it to fly.
Just as that cicada has to fight through the various cycles of its life, we face struggles that we have no choice but to face. And, often, great promise lies at the end of each struggle.
In fact, even in our faith we are challenged to work toward change. The apostle Paul wrote these words in 2 Cor. 3:18:
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
And James 1:2-4 addresses the best way to handle the trials we all are sure to face and the promise each one represents:
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
The cicada only becomes a mature adult because it soldiers on through the difficulties of its life cycle, and the same holds true for us.