The Necessary Struggle

Tuesday, February 6th, 2024

A few days ago, God gave me an interesting and very brief vision that I have been wrestling with. It feels like a little bit of where I am and also encouragement for where I want to be. While I was worshiping, God gave me a vision of a chrysalis and the butterfly inside was struggling to get out. I am not a butterfly expert, but God has been teaching me many lessons in the last year regarding their incredible metamorphosis. I have read stories of people that saw a butterfly struggling to get out of their chrysalis and thought they needed to help them get out. However, in “helping” them they actually disrupted the natural process that God designed. It’s in the butterfly’s struggle that a chemical is released that helps the wings to expand and strengthen. If this process is rushed or interfered with, they will not develop properly and will be unable to fly. And therein lies the spiritual significance.

Philippians 2:12 is one of the scriptures that God gave me to go with this vision:

12 …work out your own salvation with fear and trembling

In looking at the original Greek language, the words “work out” mean to do that from which something results. The original Greek word for “trembling” is used to describe the anxiety of one who distrusts his ability completely to meet all requirements, but religiously does his utmost to fill his duty. This butterfly may appear to be struggling and trembling, but it is diligently working out the process that God designed in order for it to have beautiful, functional wings. So what does the struggle look like for us non-winged creatures? It’s choosing to get up earlier than usual to spend time seeking God. It’s writing down a handful of scriptures to shout at the enemy when he tries to get us to bite his bait. It’s pulling out our Bible for wisdom instead of the latest TV shows. It’s going to our secret place and crying out to God when everything inside of us is screaming for a cheap fix. It’s fasting a few meals until our flesh bows and our spirit rises up.

I want to also look at Romans 5:3:

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;

The original Greek word for “produces” is the same Greek word for “work out” from Philippians 2:12. The word “tribulation” in the original Greek means pressure, oppression, affliction, distress. It would not be out of line to say that most, if not all of us, like it when things go smoothly without too many bumps or challenges along the way. But the more trips we take around the sun, the more we come to realize that it’s the times of affliction and distress that gently force us into new levels of spiritual maturity. It’s here that we discover we must trust less and less in ourselves and our circumstances and more in the God who knows everything we need.

Final Thoughts…

God has already written every word and page in our exciting novel, and He desires that we experience it all just as He designed it. We don’t have to pioneer a path or pen a blueprint. We just have to ask God for each step of our instructions, trust in His timing and take the steps He asks. And yes, some of these steps will require some struggling to get free. But it’s the struggle that gives wings to our testimony. And it’s our testimony that brings light into the darkness. We work out our salvation for ourselves but also for those that someday need to know how to break out of their own chrysalis’ and fly.