Philippians 1:6 NLT
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Spring always has me anxious for new beginnings and new adventures. This morning, our friend, Laura Acuna, posted the scripture above. It was just the reminder I needed. Lately I have felt wrong, wronged and hurt. I don’t know about you, but when I go through these emotions, one after another several times a day over several days, I begin to feel broken.
I know all the feelings are instigated by satan. He wants nothing more than for me to be upset and hurt. Because, when I am, I am so ineffective. I get depressed, turn inwards and in many ways self-sabotage. He knows the places that hurt. He knows my struggle with pride. Even when I don’t think I am prideful; a slight, word thrown off the cuff, brings me back to my issues. I like to say that I am just insecure, but the gracious Holy Spirit has told me, it is pride.
This brings me to spring and monarch butterflies. I love butterflies. I especially love monarch butterflies. When I was in elementary school we studied the life cycle of the monarch and watched as the caterpillars cocooned and later emerged as beautiful butterflies. It had a huge impact on me. As I think about it know, it still fills me with hope and awe.
The caterpillar, did it know what was in store for it when it was crawling along the ground, in the dirt and muck? When it was trying to stay safe from bird attacks?
When that primal urge overtook it to cocoon. Did it feel like death? Did it all seem worth it?
For those two weeks it was in the chrysalis stage, did it feel never-ending? The tightness, the transformation, did it feel like too much?
Then when it begins to emerge. The struggle. Does it feel like too much?
I am sure you have heard the old story about the man watching the butterfly struggle to emerge. Feeling sorry for the butterfly he decided to cut the cocoon and help the butterfly out. But once the butterfly was free, its wings did not work. They were limp at its side and actually made life much more difficult for the butterfly. Soon after the butterfly died.
That struggle from the cocoon, it is necessary. The struggle forces fluid into the wings to make them strong and capable of flight.
Once the butterfly emerges, it is able to soar over the mud and muck it once trudged through. The butterfly is able to see life very differently.
This is the same thing with us. The struggles, they make us strong in our weak places.
I think about the story of Naomi and Ruth. At one point, Naomi’s life seemed wonderful. She was married, blessed with two sons and two loving daughters-in-law. But in a few short years, she loses her husband and then both of her sons. She is devastated.
We know as she was returning to Judah, she sent her daughters-in-law back to their homeland. But, Ruth refused to go. Instead, she delivers one of the most beautiful speeches:
Ruth 1:16-18 NLT
But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go. I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!”
They went back to Judah and there found their kinsman redeemer. Boaz became Ruth’s husband. They had Obed. Which gave not only Ruth a new life, but also Naomi.
Ruth 4:14-15 NLT
Then the women of the town said to Naomi, “Praise the LORD, who has provided a redeemer for your family! May this child be famous in Israel. May he restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you and has been better to you than seven sons!”
From the dirt, from fear of death and hopelessness, Naomi is now praised by the women in her town.
Not only that, but we read in Luke 3: 32 NLT
David was the son of Jesse.
Jesse was the son of Obed.
Obed was the son of Boaz.
Boaz and Obed, they are in the lineage of our Savior. Our Redeemer.
To say that God redeems the muck and mess in our lives is an understatement. He uses it for GLORY!
So, my hurt feelings. My pride. While I hate it now. I know from God’s track record and the promises in the Bible, He will use it for HIS GLORY! And He will use your hard and weak places too.
Teresa Neal is a Christ follower, wife, and mother. Her passion is to see women grow in their relationship with Jesus and understand how great His love is for them. She is attends LCBC Church in Waynesboro and leads a women’s life group. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.