Strength from the Struggle

OK…I’ll admit it. I’m a pack-rat. Well ”pack-rat” might be a bit strong. I like to think of myself as one of those “oh-look-this-is-cool-I’ll-put-it-right-here-cuz-you-never-know-when-that-might-come-in-handy” kind of guys. Or I could just be in denial. Melody leans toward the latter. This morning I discovered one of my more peculiar collections that I had stashed away a […]

Butterfly MetamorphosisOK…I’ll admit it. I’m a pack-rat. Well ”pack-rat” might be a bit strong. I like to think of myself as one of those “oh-look-this-is-cool-I’ll-put-it-right-here-cuz-you-never-know-when-that-might-come-in-handy” kind of guys. Or I could just be in denial. Melody leans toward the latter.

This morning I discovered one of my more peculiar collections that I had stashed away a few years ago after a weekend at the farm…a Ziploc bag full of spent butterfly cocoons! Now how cool is that? You never know when one of those might come in handy, right? My wife actually had the gall to have put them in a bag that was headed for the trash. Oh the nerve!

I did have a good reason for having put them in that sandwich bag for safekeeping. Finding those cocoons at the farm was very special because just the week before I had read something about butterflies that I had never known before. Turns out that if you happen upon a butterfly that is at the end of its personal metamorphosis and decide that you want to play nice and help it escape its silky confines, and you take your handy-dandy pocket knife and cut a teeny-tiny slit in the cocoon, you have just guaranteed that that particular butterfly will never fly at all.

That’s right, for butterflies, the struggle to get out of the cocoon is what gives them the strength to fly.

This little tid-bit of info had blown me away. As I was reflecting on all of the implications of this in my personal life, I happened to find five empty cocoons over the course of the weekend at the farm. I had never found a cocoon before and have never found a cocoon since. It was obvious that there was a lesson here that Father wanted me to learn. As I stared at each of the holes left by the escaping butterflies, I thought about how tempting it would be to want to help the butterflies escape if you happened upon one breaking out.

And then I thought about struggles in my own life and how I fight to avoid them at all costs. Could it be that the struggle is just what I need and it might be an example of God loving me well by allowing me to go through it? Maybe our life here on earth is nothing more than one big struggle with our flesh and one glorious day we will break free from the confines of our humanity and we will fly!

How many times have I run to the rescue of someone else who was going through a struggle? Maybe, in some instances, I was actually doing them more harm than good because the struggle that they were going through was the very thing that would have given them the strength to fly.

I have not gotten there yet, but finding the cocoons this morning was a fresh reminder that my prayer needs to be to struggle successfully and not avoid struggles at all costs. Too often I complain about the struggle rather than try to find God in the middle of it. Father, help me praise you in every storm. I am ready to fly.

What struggles have you avoided in the past that actually wound up providing you with much needed strength?