Few things in life are guaranteed. But with great confidence, we can be assured of struggles and difficulties. Job lamented, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). Solomon reflected: “For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity” (Eccl. 2:22–23). Even those striving with unequaled zeal to live righteously will face trials in life (Jn. 16:33). Still, difficulties are not necessarily a bad thing.
James instructed, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4). Brothers and sisters, we need to understand the purpose of and learn to be thankful for the struggles of this life. Trials make us stronger. Trials give us the strength we need to endure. Uncertainties deepen our faith and trust in God. Uncertainties focus our hope and desire on the promise of things to come. Paul admonished the Philippians saying, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20–21). In a very true sense, this life, with all of its struggles, is preparing us for the life to come. The following illustration demonstrates the purpose and blessings of “necessary struggles.”
A man found a cocoon of the emperor moth and took it home to observe the moth emerge. One day a small opening appeared, and for several hours the moth struggled but could not seem to force its body past a certain point. Supposing something was wrong, the man, with a pair of scissors, cut away the restraints of the cocoon. Free from the difficulties and struggles, the moth emerged easily. However, its body was swollen and its wings small and shriveled. Never having witnessed a moth emerge from a cocoon, the man expected that within a few hours the wings would spread in their natural beauty. He watched with eager anticipation. He would be disappointed.
Instead of developing into a creature free to fly, the moth spent its life dragging around a swollen body and shriveled wings. The constricting cocoon and the necessary struggle to pass through the tiny opening forces fluid from the body into the wings. The “merciful” relief provided by the helpful onlooker was, in reality, cruel.
Brothers and sisters, sometimes the struggle is exactly what we need. Let us praise our God who allows us to endure the necessary struggles of life. Be thankful and rejoice, for these difficulties will help us become what God desires us to be.