While sitting in Mom's flower garden this morning, I saw a large and beautiful swallowtail butterfly fluttering around, getting snacks from the zinnias and other flowers. Suddenly, quick as a wink, a praying mantis snatched the butterfly from mid-air with its spiked, raptorial forelegs. The mantis had been hiding just below one of the flowers, blending in perfectly with the flower stem.
A fierce struggle ensued. The butterfly had only one hope of escape: its large and powerful wings. If it could flap free of the mantis, or even just pull the mantis away from the flower stalk with it, it might survive. Alas, the grip of the mantis was too strong. It wasted no time moving its demonic-looking mouth in for a snack of its own, which both weakened (and ultimately killed) the butterfly and strengthened the mantis.
By the time I snapped this picture (you can click to enlarge it), the butterfly had already begun to shrivel as the mantis sucked the vital juices from its body.
Sorry if this makes you sick. I got a little grossed out myself (which reconfirmed that God has not called me to be a doctor).
What a gruesome parable for sin! The "flowers" of temptation are bright and sweet, and sometimes it seems we can enjoy them without ill effect...
"But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death." James 1:14-15