It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. Psalm 18:32
In order for a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly, it needs to make a cocoon and live in it for a time, growing and changing in its place of safety. Once it is ready to start its new life as a butterfly, it has to struggle its way out of the cocoon and break it open so that it can fly away in freedom, as a new and beautiful creation.
I read a story once about a person who was watching the process of a butterfly trying to struggle its way out of its cocoon into freedom. As the person watched this seemingly agonizing process, they decided to step in and help out. So they broke open the cocoon for the butterfly thinking they were doing it a great service. However, when the butterfly got out it couldn’t fly. See it needed the strength that it would gain from the struggle in order for its wings to be strong enough to fly when it got out.
God, in His great wisdom, sometimes allows us to go through struggles in order to gain the strength that we need. There are many times that I have prayed for Him to take a struggle away from me when He hasn’t done so; however, He has always given me the strength I needed to get through those struggles and the peace of knowing that He was right there with me. When He allows us to go through something difficult, we must remember that He has good plans for our lives and that He loves us and knows what is best for us.
Every struggle that God has allowed me to go through, I can look back and see how it helped me to grow. It may be difficult to see at the time, but when we rely on God for strength and trust that He loves us and is working through every situation, it is easier to endure whatever hardships come our way. God is always faithful.
I have also seen this principle at work in ministry, in knowing when to help someone or not. There are times when God will lead us to give someone a home or a ride or money, but there are other times when He is working on the person in need of help, and if we interfere by doing something that seems nice and good and loving, it can actually be detrimental to the person’s growth. It is important that we pray about everything we do and are led by the Spirit in all of our actions, even when we are just trying to be helpful. Sometimes love is tough and sometimes people need to go through things in order to be strengthened and to learn to rely on God.
God can see much farther than we can and He knows what is best for us in the long run. So whether you are the one in the middle of the struggle or the one watching someone else struggle, learn to rely on God’s wisdom and guidance and trust that He loves each of His children more than we can ever understand. He won’t let anyone be tempted beyond what they can bear, but He will always provide a way out. We need to seek Him and trust Him to provide the way. We need to rely on His guidance to know when to step in and help someone, and when to let them go through what they need to go through in order to get to where they need to be.
Sometimes the most loving thing to do, is to let someone struggle because in that struggle they will find their strength. Just like God allows the butterfly to struggle its way out of the cocoon so that its wings will be strong enough to fly, He sometimes allows us to struggle through a situation so that our faith and trust in Him will be strong enough to survive the attacks of the enemy and our souls will be able to soar on wings like eagles through any situation that comes our way.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
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. Isaiah 40:31