The Value of Struggle
One day a young boy was out walking and discovered a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. For the most part, the beautiful creature had broken free from its metamorphic home, yet a few silk strands prevented him from flying off into new adventures. As the boy watched the butterfly struggling to free itself, the boy took out his pocket knife and cut the strands that bound the butterfly. At this point an interesting thing happened: the butterfly fell to the ground and was unable to fly. Its wings did not have the strength they needed. Had the creature completed the struggling process as God intended, it would have achieved the ability to fly. But not now! The boy actually hurt the butterfly when he thought he was helping.
When we struggle we often fix our attention on the issue at hand. “Which decision should I make?” “How can I get over my hurt?” “What do I do now?” These kinds of questions may be expressed in a million different forms depending on the nature of your personal dilemma. However, the fact remains that we focus on the cause of the struggle and how to resolve it. Getting “it” behind us becomes our chief goal.
Let me suggest that something else is happening in these instances. I believe that struggle itself may be just as important as solving the issue at hand. The butterfly needed the turmoil of release from the cocoon to strengthen its wings. Likewise, we need the struggle to strengthen our character. In fact, sometimes the struggle itself is more important than resolving the circumstance. We gain strength more when we struggle than when life is smooth.
The point is, don’t view the struggle as an enemy you must avoid. Life is full of difficult circumstances. Find one for yourself (or better yet, let one find you) and enjoy it. An ancient author named James once said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.