Sometimes, the trees are just what we need. We are refined, our destinations reappointed and our very character chiseled in the pervasive course of obstacles.
Dan Miller tells the following story in his book, 48 Days: “A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared that it could go no further. So the man decided to help the butterfly. He snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small shriveled wings. The man expected the wings would enlarge and expand to support the body, which would contract in time, but neither happened. Instead the butterfly spent the rest of his life with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never flew. What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was the restricting cocoon was God’s way of forcing, fluid from the butterfly’s body into its wings, so that it could fly free from that cocoon.”
Wow, how many life applications do you see in that story?
In 2000, I fashioned a cookbook of family recipes for my newly married daughter and those to come. It was sentimentally titled “Papa Bear’s Porridge,” a gesture not lost to our “Papa Bear” who demanded a home cooked dinner every night! (I daresay his mother might have spoiled him a little early in life.)
Anyway, the second page of the cookbook was an open letter to our children with tidbits we wished for them to know about life. Today, 14 years later, I read it with new eyes and marvel at the insight as a couple we had. Number five of that letter stated, “Have Empathy for others. Don’t try to fix their problems for them … you might get in God’s way. Rather be kind to them and remember to pray for them. If God moves you to do something, then act. But be sure he is telling you to do something.”
On a personal note I am so very thankful for those who walked alongside me who watched me journey through my obstacles and who have lovingly coaxed me along. Today, I like to think that I am an evolving butterfly I, as others, struggle hard to escape my own cocoon — but the wings are flexing and I am preparing to fly!
I would only add – to God be the Glory! Today, forward, I encourage you, beseech you to make a difference for others – listen more, be a friend. Let’s teach a new generation together by example to respect, love and encourage one another to be our best.
All of us have “Trees,” obstacles, mountains-to-climb. We are all continuously experiencing some sort of change it’s inevitable. For ourselves, the key is remembering that climbing that mountain is temporary and a necessary evil to strengthen us for the rest of the journey ahead. For others, it is simply a place we should stand readily beside them, steadfast in prayer and encouragement to make them know, “We are for them.” They matter.
Today, I want to close with my favorite scripture because it is and always will be a current of strength for me, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” –Galations 6:9