One day, a small opening appeared in a cocoon. A man sat and watched as a butterfly struggled for several hours to force its body through the tiny hole. But then, it seemed to stop making any progress.
It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could not go any further. So, in an attempt to help the butterfly, the man took a pair of scissors and opened the cocoon, allowing the butterfly to emerge easily.
Strangely, the butterfly exited the cocoon with a withered body and tiny and shriveled wings. The man continued to watch, expecting that, at any moment, the wings would open, enlarge and expand. But nothing happened.
In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its short life crawling around with a withered body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly.
What the man did not understand was that the restriction of the cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were part of God’s incredible and mysterious design. Through the butterfly’s early efforts, fluid was forced from its body into its wings. The fluid would have enabled the butterfly to fly once it was free from the cocoon.
It’s hard to appreciate our struggles while we are going through them. Often, our prayers are for God to release us from them, but we lack His eternal perspective. When He allows them to continue, we can be sure that the struggles are exactly what we need – that they are the most efficient and effective way of producing in us the strength and character necessary to do His work. Take them away, and our faith is withered and shriveled. We might walk, but we’ll never fly.
Think about your personal “cocoon” at this point in time. It’s whatever it is that has been causing you stress, worry or anxiety. It’s what you’ve been praying for God to take away. It’s the prayer that seems to go unanswered. Now, give God thanks for the struggle. Acknowledge that He knows all and that His will is best. Praise Him for allowing this difficulty in your life that is preparing you for something greater. Because a caterpillar is a neat thing, but it’s nothing compared to a butterfly!