I read this story years ago; used it in some of my teaching lessons and sermons as an illustration. But when I read this version it had a different ending. So even if you’ve heard it before, read it again, it may give you new insight on how, just like sugar, helping too much can be a bad thing.

A man working in his garden spotted the cocoon of a butterfly. One day, a small opening appeared. He kept looking, hoping the butterfly would soon appear. Several hours went by as he watched it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then, it seemed to stop trying. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. After awhile, the butterfly finally emerged, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man watched the butterfly, expecting at any moment the wings would spread and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither of these things happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of the day crawling around on the ground with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives too. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, we would not be as strong as what we need to be in order to cope with the world we live in. So instead of thinking that God doesn’t care, think of it this way:

I asked for strength, and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom, and God gave me problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity, and God gave me brain and brawn to work.
I asked for courage, and God gave me danger to overcome.
I asked for love, and God gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favors, and God gave me opportunities.
I received nothing I asked for, but everything I needed!

This is what the Apostle Paul was also saying to the Roman believers (See Romans 5:3-5). Difficulties in life can either be stepping stones or stumbling blocks. We can either see them as obstacles or opportunities. The great lady who coped with being blind like a champion, Helen Keller, once said: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.” – Dr. Robert R Seyda

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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