A friend told me that one day, when he was about 9-years old, he noticed a chrysalis in his garden; to his astonishment it was shaking and trembling. As he watched he realised that the butterfly inside was struggling to get out. Breathless with excitement, he began willing the delicate creature to break free. But there seemed to be a problem and the struggle went on and on. Eventually, feeling sorry for the creature, he decided to try and help. He pulled out his penknife and very gently cut a larger opening in the chrysalis, allowing the writhing butterfly to tumble to the ground. He watched eagerly, expecting it to spread its wings and fly away. But that didn’t happen, and he waited in growing despair as the tiny creature slowly grew still and died; he was heartbroken!
What my young friend didn’t know was that the struggle is part of the process that transforms a crawling caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. The struggle out of the cocoon is the very thing needed to give strength to its wings. This transformation is known as metamorphosis; an extraordinary process of change, but one to which we can surely relate.
The apostle Paul writes about salvation, “old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” [2 Corinthians 5:17]. Have you ever wondered about this? Salvation is glorious, it happens in a moment of time, the old life is forgiven, changed, we feel new! How long did you feel like that? How long before you thought – but I am still ‘me’; why haven’t ‘all things’ become new? Do you feel disillusioned because you continue to struggle? Well don’t! Remember the trials of the butterfly are needed for it to fulfil the promise of the change. Our struggles are the source of the strength that will enable us to fly! The apostle Peter encourages us that Yahweh “…after you have suffered a little while…will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” [1 Peter 5:10]. The metamorphosis will be complete.
And there is another benefit, “[Yahweh] will redeem our trials,” writes Randy Kilgore “by teaching us how to use what we’ve learned in them to minister to others.”
Photo by Nikiko