Matthew 10:29-31, NCV: “Two sparrows cost only a penny, but not even one of them can die without your Father’s knowing it. God even knows how many hairs are on your head. So don’t be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows.”
I was sitting outside on my school’s intramural sports field watching a game of soccer transpire. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I saw this huge moth come up out of the grass. I noticed the creature trying to fly higher and higher, the poor thing not getting very far before floating back toward the earth. It wouldn’t let itself touch the ground before flapping its wings a little harder.
I kept wondering when it was finally going to give up, guessing that its struggle to fly was due to a broken wing or something of the sort. I wanted to help it so much, but at the same time, I knew that if I tried to intervene, I might throw it off its desired course.
Then it hit me…
Maybe you have heard the story about the caterpillar. It’s going about its life, nothing out of the ordinary when, one day, it runs into something new and unfamiliar. A struggle. It begins going through a change, a process, making its cocoon and working endlessly to finish it. Not only does it have to go through this tedious process of making it, but the caterpillar also has to spend time within the cocoon.
The average caterpillar stays in a cocoon for about two weeks. If, at any point, someone messes with this cocoon or this caterpillar’s process, the transformation into a butterfly can be interrupted, causing the caterpillar/butterfly to become crippled or even dead.
“Okay, so what does that have to do with my struggles?” Well, it’s quite beautiful actually. God is not ignoring you. He is not allowing you to suffer while turning a blind eye to you. In fact, you are more precious and important than the sparrows in the sky that He watches closely. It is not that He is not there within your times of hardship or frustrations. He is not letting you drown. He is letting you go through a metamorphosis of your own, a process.
If God lets you out of the process too soon or rescues you from all of your problems, you may wither and fall. Maybe you feel broken while trying to fly. Maybe you feel like you are stuck in a sticky situation with no light at the end of the tunnel, but I promise that if you are obedient to Him, following after His heart and will, then these struggles are only the beginning of something incredible.
Matthew 11:30 even tells us, “‘The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light'” (NCV). God is not giving you something or asking you to do something that He Himself wouldn’t deal with. We can see this because even His son was tempted three times by Satan just as we are tempted every day. He also gave up His son just as He had asked Abraham to give up Isaac (which, if you know the story, He stopped the sacrifice of Isaac after seeing that Abraham was faithful to Him).
“Okay, so you said God isn’t ignoring me, and I’m only going through a process of some kind. How do you know that for sure?” A pastor of a church I once attended told the congregation, “The greater the calling, the greater the adversity.” Sometimes, we incur problems and struggles upon ourselves in our lives because of poor choices and mistakes or disobedience. God allows us to learn from them even if it’s the hard way. It doesn’t mean, however, that He is incredibly angry with us, has stopped loving us, or is done with us.
We also go through struggles and face temptations for other reasons. If you are doing everything you can to be in God’s perfect will and you are giving over everything to Him but are still feeling like you are struggling to survive in this life, Satan must be pretty angry about your choice to follow the Savior. He is probably throwing as many fiery darts/temptations at you as he can to make you stumble or get distracted.
Meanwhile, God is also allowing you to be molded so that you grow stronger and more mature in order to accomplish the amazing purpose He has in store for you. I say all of this because I have experienced these struggles, temptations, and breakthroughs multiple times throughout my life! I have seen the rainbow after the storm, but the storm had to occur for the rainbow to appear. I know it to be true that, in a lot of cases, He gives His greatest battles to His strongest warriors. If you feel like you have a huge battle upon your shoulders, then you may not have seen that hidden warrior inside of you yet.
If you are ever in doubt about your struggles/temptations and the brokenness they bring you or God’s intentions within them, just remember a few things:
Psalm 34:18, ESV – “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 147:3, NIV – “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
1 Peter 5:10, ESV – “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
1 Corinthians 10:13, ESV – “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Romans 8:28, ESV – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Featured Image By Nathan Dumlao