Life is a series of opportunities. Oftentimes, the struggles you face will either defeat you or develop you – depending on how you respond to them. God wants to use you through your struggles.
Turning Pain into Purpose: How to Find Meaning & See God in Your Struggles
Bugs are not my favorite side effect of the changing seasons. Yes, without insects, birds would have less to eat and plants would struggle to reproduce.
I still find them to be annoying and gross.
As I was tending to my garden early one morning in late June, I ran across a few jarring types of bugs. I can typically put their annoyances aside when I am outside working.
But on this particular day, the population of slugs and ground beetles were overwhelmingly abundant. I found a mini city of creepy crawlies.
I spoke directly to those little slimy and hard-shell bugs; “Why did God create you? I just don’t understand.”
As I went on my way, working myself around my garden, pulling weeds, and avoiding pests, I spotted a light brown camouflaged cocoon resting with the branches of my lilac bush.
I quickly pulled out my phone and snapped a picture using my Seek identification app. My query returned with an observation finding of a Luna Moth cocoon.
This cocoon was about the size of my thumb, with one singular leaf wrapped around it. Stopping to rest and observe my new friend, I blinked several times to clear my eyes. I thought to myself, “I believe this little brown oval-shaped bundle is moving.” Sure enough, I watched as it wiggled ever so slightly.
Moving around it to get a better view, I noticed a tiny hole forming at the very top. It dawned on me as I started to put two and two together.
This moth was making its way out of its cocoon. I was elated to think I was going to witness my first ever Luna moth “birth”. I sat watching the little wiggles occur at a lagging rate. Ten minutes go by. Fifteen minutes go by. Still watching tiny wiggles and no appearance of a bright green moth.
I didn’t want to give up watching and miss this celebratory moment. I wondered if I could assist in the process by adding an extended slit with my garden scissors to the top where the current small hole lays.
Don’t we all crave a little help now and again?
Good thing I reached for my phone to look up; “How long does it take a Luna moth cocoon to hatch?”
Thankful for the encyclopedia of knowledge I have at my fingertips. Considering, I could have been waiting there all day without seeing any progress. From what I learned, it takes two to three weeks for a Luna moth to emerge.
If I helped by adding to that little slit, I wouldn’t have made it easier. I would have given this little guy an earlier death sentence.
This moth needed to work through the struggle to emerge in order to be strong enough to survive.
Struggling and not making it
I too feel like a little moth who is trying to emerge. Over the last year, I can recall praying out to God; “Just tell me what to do and I will do it!”
An easy button, perhaps, would be most convenient. Yet, on the other hand, would I have learned the lesson that God intended for me? Or would my heart be radically changed by just doing and not living through each phase of His strategic plan for my life?
Striving in any circumstance is hard. When we strive to make a change, it can be frustrating to see only a minor difference.
There is a scripture I keep written on my paper calendar. I keep it in view to remind myself of God’s goodness. Colossians 1:17 (ESV) says; “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
God spends His time training us to be leaders of our gifts. He takes His time preparing us to do so. Every “no” we hear is not a rejection, it is a “not yet”. Thanks to His completion of sharpening our skill set.
When we feel progress is not being made, we find meaning in knowing God is working things out according to His will for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
A chosen calling
God will lead us into places we never thought of. He will take us on a journey that doesn’t include our own directives. Many times, He will pull us from the comforts of our ways, to make us confident in His way.
God sees you! He loves you! And He wants the best for you.
Growth comes when He asks us to move for His glory and in the midst of this movement, He teaches us, molds our character, and makes us more like Him.
There will be struggles with turmoil, and then there will be struggles with Jesus.
When we walk by faith, our Father covers us in His protection and wraps us in His mercy.
So the next time you feel yourself asking The Lord for an easy button, remember the work you do today will strengthen you for tomorrow.
He is faithfully equipping you.
LET’S PRAY TOGETHER
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for giving us a passion to serve you through our gifts. Help us to rest in your presence as you continue to complete a work in us. We know Satan will try to steal our peace by pressuring us to believe in an untruth. He may try, but we know He can’t steal our salvation. Today, we fully place our trust and hope in you.
All this we ask in your precious and Holy name, Jesus. – Amen!
Read More on Jen Schreiner
- Releasing Your Expectations into God’s Hands
- Turning Pain into Purpose: How to Find Meaning & See God in Your Struggles
- Why Being Perfect Will Never Satisfy
- Trusting in God’s Strength Instead of Your Own
- Your Pain Has a Greater Purpose