The Lesson of the Butterfly

by Andy Wood on September 19, 2011

in Ability, Five LV Laws, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Freedom, Tense Truths, Waiting

Jason meant well.  But his efforts to help the butterfly-to-be only ended in disaster.  For days he had watched the cocoon and wondered what it would produce.  Finally he noticed a tiny opening in the cocoon’s wall.  On the other side, the new life form was struggling furiously – desperately – to be free of its self-designed prison.  Feeling compassion for the little creature, the boy found a sharp knife and carefully cut the cocoon’s wall in order to relieve it from its struggle.

The butterfly soon died.  Its wings were grossly deformed, and it was unable to fly.  What appeared to be a struggle was actually the process by which the animal’s wings are formed.  Jason had short-circuited the process, and the results, though unintentional, were tragic.

You and I are very much like the butterfly.  We are often wrapped up in our own kinds of cocoons – alone, stifled, limited, longing to be free.  Sometimes these are prisons of our own doing – addictions, bondage to sin, broken relationships, stupid decisions.   At other times our cocoons are thrust upon us in the form of disappointments, losses of loved ones, extended illnesses, or the abuse of others.  Either way, the results are the same.  Why do we feel so alone?  What in the world is God up to?  Where will we ever find relief?  When will we be “free to fly” again?  How will we make it through another day?

During our cocoon seasons, God often seems to be uninvolved and uncaring.  Why doesn’t He get us out of this?  If He can part the Red Sea, or split the sky for Elijah’s chariot, why can’t He cut a hole in this prison of mine and supernaturally get me out?

The answer is seen in the lesson of the butterfly.  It is in the struggle that you develop your beauty.  It is in the process of breaking through – with His help, in His timing – that you discover the true meaning of freedom.  To seek relief from that struggle, as many often do, only leads to greater hardship.

Or another, tighter cocoon.

Or perhaps even to death.

There is a big difference between relief and freedom.  There is an even bigger difference between relief and encouragement.  Often in our efforts to help those we love, we only add to their bondage.  How?  By offering relief at just the point they were beginning to stretch their wings.

Parents do this with their children. (“Here, let me do it for you.”  “It’s O.K.  You can always come home.)

Spouses do it for one another.  (“But I love her!” “Well, I’m different; I’m his wife.”)

Christians do it for one another.  (“Don’t you worry.  I’ll take care of it for you.” “Now don’t cry.  You’ve got to be strong.”)

We mean well.  But we short-circuit their growth.

“My grace is enough for you,” the Lord told Paul.  “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  As long as we live in a fallen world, we will have our cocoons to fight through.  And we will always desperately need the all-sufficient grace of God.  But we will never discover His grace is enough until His grace is all we have.

Learn the lesson of the butterfly.  For yourself.  For those you love.  Otherwise, the haunting words that describe the children of Israel might also be said of you:  “And He gave them their request [their relief!], But sent leanness into their soul” (Psalm 106:15).

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