Monday, 21 March 2011

Fragility and Strength

On the topic of butterflies, I recently heard someone mention an interesting thing about their transition from caterpillars to those lovely winged creatures. It was said that a butterfly must emerge from the chrysalis without assistance or it wouldn't develop properly and die. The struggle to emerge from the confinement of the chrysalis causes the butterfly to become strong enough for the next stage of it's life.

The Butterfly and the Cocoon

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. The man sat and watched the cocoon for several hours as the butterfly struggled to force its body through the little hole.
Then it seemed to stop making progress. It appeared as if the butterfly had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further. The man decided to help the butterfly in its struggle. 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.
He continued to watch the butterfly. He expected that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to be able to support the body. He knew that in time the body would contract, and the butterfly would be able to fly.
But neither happened. In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were Nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been.
We could never fly.
~ original author unknown (sometimes attributed to the American writer and painter Henry Miller)

I've heard that said of baby birds coming out of their eggshells as well. If you break away the shell to help the "poor little bird" in it's struggles, you are actually doing it a disservice because in order for the bird to be strong, it has to come through that struggle on it's own.

God knows what will build us up in Him. He uses the challenges in the lives of His children to develop us and strengthen us. He is with us as we deal with life's trials and tribulations. When I was a baby in Christ, He heard my never ending cries and pleadings. As He continues to help me to grow in Him, I cry less and rest assured in His loving care of me despite the fact that I fall far short of deserving it.

From the writer of the book of Hebrews:

Heb 12:5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Heb 12:7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Heb 12:8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Heb 12:9  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
Heb 12:10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Heb 12:12  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
Heb 12:13  And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 

And from James:

Jam 1:2  My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Jam 1:3  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Jam 1:4  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

When we go through the deep and murky waters of various trials and tribulations, may we remember that as sons and daughters of the living God, He is with us developing our "wings" for our flight to meet Him in the sky when He comes for us. Hallelujah! Count it all JOY!!! ;-)

Some links about butterflies :-)

Lots of articles and fun games and drawing tutorials for children and adults:

and this one:


  1. Beautiful post:)

    I know it is going to be harder and harder to let my little ones struggle up in growing at times. I pray to have the wisdom to know when to back off and when to help.

    If they are anything like me or their dad, they will HAVE to learn things the hard way.

    But He has promised to refine us, but not destroy..hallelujah:)

  2. Hi Ma :)

    "the chastening of the Lord...for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth"

    This has always been an area of confusion for me, but it became a little clearer to me yesterday when I thought about butterflies and their transformation, and what Jesus says about His people meeting Him in the air!

    I know what you mean about learning things the hard way. Those are also the lessons that will stay with you (and me) forever. ;-)


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