Life is hard. I've heard that and even voiced it a time or two as well, but that should not surprise us. Throughout nature there are evidences of how struggle is an integral part of life; without struggle the creature cannot develop into its’ full potential.
I remember one story about how an individual saw a butterfly struggling to escape the cocoon it had woven as a caterpillar. This person commiserated with the difficulty the butterfly was having, perhaps from something he too was enduring, so he reached out and cut some of the threads holding the cocoon closed against the butterfly’s efforts. With those threads cut, the butterfly was easily able to push itself out of the cocoon and he felt a sense of accomplishment at helping this small creature.
Within a few minutes, however, it became apparent that there was something wrong. The shriveled wings did not unfold and even the body of the caterpillar turned butterfly seemed shriveled. As this person watched this creature stumbled and dragged itself a short distance, but soon died! His efforts to help this creature had rather condemned it; it was the struggle to emerge from the cocoon that enabled the caterpillar to become fully what God had intended.
I will not claim that the struggle is pleasant or enjoyable, but it is necessary! A friend is now struggling with leukemia, enduring the chemotherapy and all the machinations that occur to a human body when once such treatment begins in the way of labs, x-rays, poking and prodding; all part of what medical science calls treatment, but the one enduring it can easily look upon as torture. The struggles of the people of the Ukraine, Venezuela, and Syria have captured the attention of the world, but these macro-struggles reflect what each of us faces each day and it is through those struggles that we, like the butterfly struggling to emerge from its’ cocoon, gain the strength to fly!
Recently a friend experienced this truth to the ultimate extreme; she had lived a life of joys and struggles like any of us and in the last year had endured her final struggle, this one with cancer. When her body had ceased to function, she entered that Place of rest that all in Christ anticipates. Life is hard, but it is not forever!
Yes, there may be seemingly insurmountable obstacles that are keeping you from a goal or achievement, but don’t let that make you stop. We are being prepared for a better place, a Home without struggle that I cannot even begin to imagine what it will be like. For now, I struggle looking forward to that Rest.