The following excerpt is a familiar story that I have seen passed around via the email and internet. I want to share it with you.
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared and he sat and watched the butterfly as it struggled for several hours to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared it had gotten as far as it could. The man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of cocoon.
The butterfly then emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would expand and be able to support the body, which would contract in time.
Neither happened! in fact, the butterfly spent its whole life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly. What the man, in kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved freedom.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through life without obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been.
And... we would never fly.
So we struggle in our lives. But we were created by God to struggle so we can become stronger. Our struggles vary from situation to situation. We can have struggles with our spouse, our children, our parents, our siblings. We may face trials of illnesses and even of death. Struggles that are not even our own doings, but a result of what someone else did. Struggles are inevitable.
God in His mercy and grace told us in His word that we would be tested and tried.
Proverbs 17:3 NIV
3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the LORD tests the heart.
1 Peter 1:6-7
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to be joyful when I am faced with a struggle or trial of any kind.
But the Lord has equipped us with His Word and He is faithful to fulfill what He promised in His Word. His Word shows us how to overcome. His Word tells what to do when we become too tired to care or carry on:
Isaiah 40:27-31 NIV
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God"?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
When we complain and fuss as we tire, we can give it to the Lord who never becomes weary. He will give us hope and renew our strength in HIM.
As believers—as sisters in Christ—let us pray for one another through our struggles and trials. When appropriate give an encouraging word, but please, please—don’t bring the scissors!