The dragonfly is one of the insects that live on every continent (except Antarctica). These gnarly insects have some very unique characteristics. For instance, they can reach speeds of 35 miles an hour as they hover and zip around looking for prey. They also have very large compound eyes (so large they almost touch). Their unique attributes also have a lot of spiritual significance.
Dragonflies have not been named explicitly in the holy scriptures. At best, we can say they are part of the insects that God created in the Genesis account of creation. Since God never created anything without reason, it is safe to infer that dragonflies were also created for a purpose. Let’s have a look at what these insects symbolize in the Bible.
Dragonfly Meaning in the Bible
Dragonflies may not have been mentioned in their Bible but that doesn’t mean they are not significant. They symbolize lots of things including the importance of vision, the importance of movement, and the importance of growth and transformation.
Let us have a look at each of these symbolisms in more detail below.
Dragonflies have incredible vision
Dragonflies have the largest eyes of any insect. The only other insects that have nearly as big eyes are the bees. The large compound eyes cover almost more than half of the face and they are so large that they almost touch. Their eyes are made up of over 30,000 ommatidia in each eye. Ommatidia is a visual unit that is made up of an intricate lens system and lots of light-sensitive cells. As a result, dragonflies have incredible vision.
Because of their incredible sight, dragonflies are symbols of vision. The Bible has a lot to say about vision but perhaps one of the most prolific scriptures on the topic is the one-liner in the book of Proverbs.
Where there is no vision, the people perish: But he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18
Vision, in this context, is not synonymous with sight. As Hellen Keller (a famous American artist who was blind) once noted, the worst tragedy in life would be to have sight but lack vision. The dragonfly should always inspire us to see beyond our immediate environment. It should inspire us to have foresight as we look purposefully and optimistically into the future.
Dragonflies have amazing flying skills
No insect comes close to the flying ability of the dragonfly. In fact, the flying abilities of the dragonfly have led scientists to speculate that it was the first insect to develop flying capabilities while all others were still crawlers. Dragonflies are equipped with two sets of wings that are latched to muscles in the thorax which can work each wing independently. This allows them to fly with superior agility.
The superior flying skills of the dragonfly should always remind us of the importance of movement and progress. If there is one consistent thing with how God related to humans in the Bible is that the people moved. God does not want you to stagnate. On the contrary, he wants you to keep moving towards your goal. In the words of scripture, we need to move from strength to strength – each one of us, until we appear before God (Psalm 84:7).
Growth and transformation
Unlike most insects that go through metamorphosis in four stages (egg, larva, pupa, and adult), the dragonfly metamorphosizes in only three (egg, nymph, adult). This shortened metamorphosis can be viewed as a symbol of the kind of growth and development that we need to experience as Christians. Even though the growth cycle of the dragonfly is a natural process, a Christian’s spiritual growth is not by default – it is a personal choice. It takes spiritual discipline and deliberate effort. It is for this reason that some Christians are mature while others are not even if they came to salvation at the same time.
You must feed on your spiritual food religiously if you are to grow spiritually. The word of God is described as milk (1 Peter 2:2), solid food (Hebrews 5:12-13), bread (John 6:51), honey (Psalm 119:103), etc. that is because it is our spiritual food that will nourish us. So, when you neglect to study God’s word, you are neglecting your spiritual growth.
But dragonflies also symbolize transformation. Just as they transform through the three stages in their life cycle, the Christian must also transform into the person he was created to be. But transformation is often a slow process that requires patience. And it starts with absolute surrender. You must offer your body as a living sacrifice to God, which is your spiritual act of worship, and then only can you be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1-2)
Dragonflies live near water
Even though dragonflies are not aquatic, they typically spend most of their time close to the surface of water. Depending on the species, dragonflies can be found near streams, marshes, or ponds. The water bodies not only provide a haven for their egg and nymph stages in the life cycle but they are also a hunting ground for their food.
Their proximity to water bodies can teach us the importance of always staying close to God who is our source of life. In James 4:8, the bible says to “draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you” The Psalmist also likes those who draw close to God by meditating on his word to “a tree planted by the waters, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither”
To wrap it up, while the Bible does not mention dragonflies, these remarkable creatures symbolize significant spiritual lessons. Their exceptional vision encourages foresight, their agile flight underscores the importance of progress, and their rapid growth mirrors the need for deliberate spiritual development. Additionally, their proximity to water reflects the importance of staying close to God, our source of life.