One thing I believe most of us struggle with to one degree or another is the idea that hardship and struggles can “work together for our good.” And, yes. This can be hard to understand for us Christians too!
Can you relate?
I started thinking about that this morning when I suddenly thought of a couple things that brought new clarity to the dilemma for me.
The horrific struggle of a butterfly serves a critical purpose. In its desperate fight to break lose from the confinement of its cocoon, it causes life-giving blood to be pumped into its wings, enabling them to unfold and harden, making it possible for them to beautifully soar in the sky. When well-meaning people have helped it avoid this seeming fight for life by breaking lose the container that seemed to be preventing it from breaking forth, its wings remain forever shrunken, undeveloped and useless for flying. For the rest of its short life its then crippled and condemned to drag its body around only as far as it can walk–missing the wonderful purpose for which it was created.
And then there’s the wonderful changes that take place in a baby’s body and brain when its allowed to slip, flop and conquer on its own the art of crawling like a pro!
Scientists now know that crawling triggers our still developing brain to build important connections and new pathways that over time enables both sides of our brain to efficiently work together, so we can respond automatically and effortlessly to sudden physical challenges with needed strength and stability. (Like what happens when we trip and start to fall!) Not only does it activate pathways in our brain that are key in developing our physical bodies and agility, but it also greatly enhances the way we can think things through, and our cognitive abilities too! When a person lacks those qualities and abilities, like a butterfly, their “wings” too never develop and so they miss out on the better way of life for which they were designed.
Isn’t it amazing how the uninterrupted struggles of a simple insect and a baby’s crawl tremendously impacts their future abilities and quality of life?!
I now see the same is true of our Spirit too. These everyday examples gives us a wonderful picture of how much we gain by persevering through the hard times. By hanging in there when “the going gets rough”, and pushing through to overcome obstacles and hardships that life is sure to bring, we are also developing a rich part of who we are. By doing so, we too are developing new pathways in our Spirit that lead to much needed strength of character, perseverance and hope, so we too are able to soar above it all.
Jeremiah 29:11 now makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Have a good day everybody… thinking about the wonders that God has placed within and around each of us!