Struggle

Struggle

Do you ever wonder why God allows you to struggle through so much, so often? The definition of struggle is; a forceful or violent effort to get free of restraint or resist attack.

There’s a very interesting verse in the third chapter of Judges that reads as follows: “These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience).” Judges 3:1-2

Very interesting. God could simply have let the Israelites march into the Promised Land, but in doing so without their learning how to fight, would have left them weak and vulnerable. God wanted them to struggle. So He continued to test them, to teach them to trust Him in the fight.

Recently I was talking to someone about the necessity of struggle in the Christian life, and referenced the wonderful illustration in nature of the butterfly and cocoon. I was surprised that he had never heard it. In case you haven’t, here it is.

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further. So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body. But it never happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly.

What the man didn’t understand was that God designed that restricting cocoon so that it required the butterfly to struggle in order to get through the tiny opening. Doing so forces fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it’s ready for flight once it achieves its freedom from the cocoon.

The moral of the story is very biblical. Struggles in life are meant to make us strong. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. Our struggles in this life are preparing us to fly in the next.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4