A man had a cocoon in a jar. The butterfly was getting close to emerging. Everyday the man watched the butterfly through a small opening in the cocoon. The butterfly was struggling inside but didn’t seem to be making progress. The man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped open the cocoon. The butterfly easily emerged, but it just didn’t look right. Its body was swollen and wings shriveled. The man expected the butterfly’s wings to enlarge and expand in the coming days but it never did. For the rest of the butterfly’s life, it crawled around with shriveled wings, never flying away. Even though the man was trying to be kind, what he did not understand was the butterfly needed this restriction inside the cocoon to help make it ready for flight. Without this struggle, the butterfly would never fly (Tim Shen Illustrations).
It’s easy to become complacent and self-reliant. Sometimes problems and difficulties are exactly what we need to grow and rely more on God. This is why James said, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
At one point or another, problems are going to come that will “test our faith.” The point of these trails isn’t to beat us down and make us miserable, but to strengthen our relationship with God and to become more confident in who we are as Christians. Those who have successfully made it through trials can attest to this very fact.
God never promised we wouldn’t go through difficult times. Certainly, in His wisdom, God understands that struggles and difficulties are exactly what we need to become stronger Christians and more reliant on Him. A life without any worries and problems would likely cripple and spoil us. We would lean on ourselves and not on the Lord. Like the butterfly, we wouldn’t never mature and become as strong as we could have.
Let’s try to keep this in mind next time we are dealing with trials. Let’s use the problem as a time to further strengthen our relationship with the Lord, knowing we will emerge from the trail as stronger and more faithful Christians.