A Word of Encouragement (based on Eccls 3:11)
One sunny day, whilst playing out in the garden, a little boy found a large, green caterpillar sitting on a branch. Utterly enthralled, along with some leaves for food and a climbing stick, he carefully inserted the caterpillar into a glass jar. Finally, he secured the jar with a perforated lid.
After a few days, changes started to occur inside the jar. The caterpillar was disappearing inside a cocoon. The boy’s mother explained that soon, the caterpillar would emerge as a beautiful, bright butterfly with great, big, colourful wings.
The little boy watched patiently every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge.
Suddenly, one morning, a tiny hole appeared through the cocoon wall and the new butterfly began to break into the light.
However, the butterfly struggled painstakingly to make its escape and with each passing day, there seemed to be little or no progress at all!
The boy decided to help. Using a pair of scissors, he snipped open the cocoon and the butterfly broke free!
Disappointingly, however, he noticed that the butterfly had a swollen body and its wings were all shriveled up. The boy continued to watch, expecting the butterfly to continue to grow, leap into the air and flutter its tiny wings high into the sky.
Instead, his little butterfly spent the next 2 days simply crawling around on the ground. Never able to fly…
You see the butterfly was designed by God to struggle in this precise way, for a specific amount of time! It is absolutely God’s intention, part of His intelligent design that the butterfly squeeze itself very slowly out of only a tiny hole in the wall of its cocoon.
How is that fair? Does God enjoy seeing His creation suffer like this? It may not make any sense to us whatsoever …
But you see, the butterfly’s slow and difficult struggle, through that tiny opening in its cocoon is in fact utterly necessary to push the fluid out of its body and through into its tiny wings … unfurling, expanding and developing them into a dry, wafer thin texture perfect in height and width and shape - the ideal proportions - to facilitate flight.
Without its uniquely designed struggle … giving it a small body and wide, delicate wings the butterfly would never be able to fly. Indeed, in our story, the boy’s good intentions to speed things up, actually damaged the plan that God had to enable the butterfly to flutter joyously into the air!
And in life, we too have our own personal struggles, don’t we? Sickness, bereavement, divorce, betrayals, disappointments, financial challenges, accidents, impossible workplace situations and so on and so on. Some of you are even going through something agonising right now, as we speak. And if we ourselves have tried to cut corners, or turned for help from sources which are outside of the purposes and plans of God … we may find ourselves in what might look and feel like an impossible situation.
So is God being cruel when we endure struggles of our own? Well …
Just like the butterfly, our struggles are an essential part of our life experiences and of our growth, in Christ Jesus. In fact, it is the perfectly timed, individually designed struggle itself which gives us our ability to fly and our ability to meet the God given potential which Jesus has placed inside each and every one of us. So, we must endure, and by depending on our Lord … we will overcome …Amen
The Lord’s gift to you is stronger wings in brighter more beautiful colours than we could ever have imagined for ourselves. He can and will use our unique story for our blessing, a blessing to others and for His glory… and His timing is absolutely perfect … so be patient in your endurance, … your time to shine is near and … and just like JOSEPH’S BETRAYAL AT THE HANDS OF HIS OWN BROTHERS IN GENESIS, or the thorn which Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 12:10-11 Paul writes …
"for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Please don’t go carrying any burden alone. Jesus wants to help you carry that load. You Will Fly! Amen HALLELUJAH You Will Fly! Jesus is our hope!
Stella heads up the Women's Ministry at the Gospel Centre, Wightman Road, Haringey N8