I received this this morning from an old friend named Marilyn…
I love the illustration of the caterpillar and the butterfly. The lonely butterfly egg hatches. The caterpillar just begins to instinctively eat the leaf it was hatched on. When it finishes that leaf it finds another. Yet one day, by God’s design, it climbs a small branch and spins a cocoon. In that cocoon, the caterpillar melts. From that liquid, God forms the butterfly. That is why the butterfly is all wet when it comes out of the cocoon. It then has to laboriously stretch out its wings to cause the liquids to move into its veins. Then it rests. Then it stretches out again and rests. Finally when it is dry and strong, the tiny thread that secured it to the cocoon breaks and it is free to fly and drink nectar.
Have you ever asked God to remove your trial? Paul did, and the Lord told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). I like to think about grace as a box. Each side top and bottom is labeled, “My grace is sufficient.” In my struggle, I often say, “Here I am Lord, standing in my grace box.” It helps me to focus on Him and realize afresh that I am surrounded by His grace strength.
Every trial contains another essential step in God’s purpose for our life. Hebrews 10:36 says, “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” Did Abraham struggle as he waited twenty some years before God’s promise was fulfilled in his life? Romans 4:18 says, “Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed.” This needful endurance means that we can bear up under our difficult trial through hope, continually drawing our strength from the Lord.
1 Peter 5:10 says, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” Did you notice that the establishing comes after the suffering? So many things in nature bear out this truth. The crocus that emerges through the snow, the baby bird that pecks its way through an egg, the seedling that pushes through the earth, all represent how the strength is in the struggle.
1 Peter 1:7 tells how the fiery trials are necessary to purify our faith. Faith is essential. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. There is another aspect to struggling. People watch our faith. It could be that the trial you are enduring right now is a testimony to God’s grace strength in your life. I like to read true life stories of missionaries to see how God was faithful in their impossible circumstances. Their endurance fortifies and encourages me, as I read how God orchestrated their lives, interweaving people and circumstances to fulfill His divine purpose for them.
Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Be encouraged today to stand in your grace box and endure because the strength is in the struggle.