Most of us have heard of the life cycle of a butterfly. We have seen the beautiful chrysalis to butterfly stage and have even read the encouraging articles reminding us of the process of growing into our beautiful God given purpose in life. How wonderful it is to see the caterpillar’s struggle as it magnificently emerges completely changed! And we are often encouraged that even though things in our lives sometimes seem quiet and stale, God is finishing the work He has begun in us.
We see the caterpillar emerge with glorious wings and soar high above the earth, but then we see ourselves going through the same trials and tribulations, day after day. Where are our wings? When shall we soar?
Discouragement can set in, but something is often overlooked in this story of a butterfly’s life. A part of the story is so often left out, and we need to hear it. What most people don’t realize about the caterpillar is that prior to the chrysalis stage, that little caterpillar has already shed its skin 4 or more times. It has struggled out of the old and into the new numerous times before it ever came to its final destination in development. And all of those times, he came out looking pretty much the same. Why does it shed its skin? Because it is growing! The more it grows, the more it emerges from the old into the new, and even though it comes out a worm many times, it is still a bigger, healthier and stronger creature. It is better prepared for the final transformation as it makes small adjustments all a long the way. See, sometimes we go through struggles in our lives, only to feel that we have come out the other side barely altered. Sometimes we even enter the same exact stage over and over, and we are left wondering, “Why do I keep going through this?” or “When will things change?” I would like to encourage you today to realize that things are constantly changing. Growth doesn’t always look like a total transformation, but it is still progress. Transformation often takes place a step at the time. When you are going through seasons of small growth, especially when you can’t see or feel it, you have to have faith in the One who is shaping you, and God does know what He is doing.
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” – Philippians 1:6
No matter how many times you seem to go through the same stage only to find yourself emerging as a worm, you are still growing. You never start from scratch no matter how many times you’ve been through the same struggle. You always start from experience! Every time you feel you are going through the same stages over and over again, remember, you are starting from experience every time, and you are getting closer and closer to the image of Christ as you go.
“O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” – Isaiah 64:8
Trust the Potter.
Don’t be discouraged if things don’t seem to change much, they are, and one day you will suddenly realize just how much. Focus more on your journey and less on the destination, and you won’t find discouragement so often along the way. Enjoy your walk with the Lord.
Remember, you are never starting from scratch; you are starting from experience.