Welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.
My friend, may I ask you a question today? Is your life filled with suffering? No one chooses to suffer as that would be foolish. However, when God calls us to suffer, ought we to go their willingly? Is this how God shapes and forms us according to his divine purposes?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
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When I was a little boy I found a cacoon attached to a milkweed plant. I knew that it was the chrysalis of a Monarch Butterfly and was excited to see that it had a very small hole in the end of it. I remember sitting down in the field next to the plant hoping to see the beautiful butterfly emerge right before my eyes. It seems like I sat there for hours, but nothing happened. I thought that perhaps the butterfly had gotten trapped and was exhausted and might need some help getting out of the tough shell around it. So I took out my pocket knife and chipped away at the tiny hole to make it wider for the trapped butterfly. That worked better than I thought. Within minutes it slowly crawled out of the hole, body swollen and wings yet shrivelled. It clung to the chrysalis and just hung there. I watched for quite a while, but there seemed to be no progress at all. Finally, swollen body, shrunken wings and all, it just dropped to the grass next to me. I marked the spot and decided to come back later to see it. Later that evening I returned only to find it laying on its side, lifeless in the grass.
As I found out later the struggle that had been ongoing inside the cacoon was mandated for a purpose. The cacoon was designed to entrap the butterfly just long enough for it to pump the fluid into its shrivelled wings thereby making it possible for the wings to be more fully developed as soon as the butterfly emerged. I interrupted that cycle and made it impossible for the butterfly to dry out its wings and fly away. Suffering made it possible for it to flourish.
Here’s a story. A. Parnell Bailey visited an orange grove where an irrigation pump had broken down. The season was unusually dry and some of the trees were beginning to die for lack of water. The man giving the tour then took Bailey to his own orchard where irrigation was used sparingly. “These trees could go without rain for another two weeks,” he said. “You see, when they were young, I frequently kept water from them. This hardship caused them to send their roots deeper into the soil in search of moisture. Now mine are the deepest-rooted trees in the area. While others are being scorched by the sun, these are finding moisture at a greater depth.” (Our Daily Bread.)
The Apostle Peter wrote: “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” You and I are like that butterfly. Our lives may be filled with suffering. No one chooses to suffer as that would be foolish. However, when God calls us to suffer, we ought to go their willingly. Why? Because this is how God shapes and forms us according to his divine purpose. Take away that suffering and we may never mature into the man or woman God meant us to be. When you find yourself trapped inside a suffering body or suffering circumstance, commit yourself to using that suffering to grow. If a Christian friend is so burdened, encourage them but don’t be sympathetic. I sympathized with that butterfly and my sympathy killed it. There is always that same danger when we look for sympathy or look to give it. Without suffering we are rendered useless and inept. With it we can soar to new heights.
We pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing your divine suffering to enter into our lives according to your will. Forgive us, Lord, when we complain and look for sympathy instead of being with and growing from the suffering that you give us. Help us to cope and grow in Christ as we suffer in body and spirit. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day.
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