Last week I felt it was responsible and ethical for me to call attention to some issues at work, although I knew it would cause some difficulty and struggle for someone I care about.
Since then, the Lord reminded me of a message He gave me seven years ago sitting in a waiting room to talk to a counselor about the news of my unmarried 19-year-old daughter's unplanned pregnancy. (It was in a daily devotional periodical sitting on an end table and I picked it up and read that day's entry as I waited.)
How did God remind me of this? I had cut it out and glue-sticked into a journal...one of many I was going to photograph Thursday night... Coincidence? I think not.
Take a good look at this photograph...really look at it! Then read part of the cut-out page in my journal that follows:
I was reminded of the story of a man who took home a cocoon so he could watch the emperor moth emerge. As the moth struggled to get through the tiny opening, the man enlarged it with a snip of his scissors. The moth emerged easily -- but its wings were shriveled. The struggle through the narrow opening is God's way to force fluid from its body into its wings to support them. The "merciful" snip, in reality, was cruel. Without the struggle, the moth would never be able to fly.
Go back and look at that photograph again...you can see where the tubes of fluid are what provides the structure for the wings function.
God not only used revisiting that in an old journal, but I had this fascinating opportunity on Saturday to photograph this gorgeous creäture on our butterfly bush in the front yard.
In April 2005, God knew I would want to rescue my daughter from the struggle that the coming days would bring. This week God knew I would want to beat myself up because I did not rescue a young co-worker from the struggle that comes with failure in the early years of a young career. And He brought this illustration back across my pathway.
In all honesty, I do not believe growth is possible without struggle, resistance, adversity, and correction. I have never been able to get around it. Just as the struggle of a butterfly creates the strength of its wings, just as the ripping of muscle fibers in the human body creates strength as the muscle heals...so does struggle and adversity in our lives strengthen the muscles of our faith.
When I look back on the most precious moments of my life, they always entail struggle and disappointment and failure. For it has been those times that God's presence has been the sweetest and through the process, He has made me learn and become that which could never occur any other way.
Jesus, may I always see Your gift of Your strength in the strain of my struggle.