One day a man happened upon the cocoon of a budding butterfly. Realizing what the cocoon was, he became excited at the prospect of getting to watch a beautiful butterfly ultimately emerge from it. And, sure enough, he only had to wait a couple of days before the butterfly began its struggle to free itself from the cocoon.
As the man watched the process of nature play itself out, he was shocked that the butterfly had to endure such a long, hard struggle to achieve its freedom. The creature worked for hours and hours but made such little progress that the man finally decided to help nature finish the job. To do so, he took a pair of scissors and carefully made the cocoon’s opening larger. That allowed the butterfly to crawl right out.
But that’s all the butterfly ever did: crawl. What the man didn’t know was that the intense pressure that is involved with a butterfly emerging from a cocoon is designed to push all-important juices into the butterfly’s wings. Without those juices the wings end up deformed and unusable. So, in the man’s attempt to help the butterfly, he had actually ruined it by condemning it to a pitiful existence of crawling around on the ground.
Parent, hear me when I say that you can do this same kind of thing to your child. One of the surest ways for you to produce a weak, morally challenged, emotional cripple is to always come riding in and save your child’s day. You see, if you are determined that your child will never know trials, troubles, sufferings, and hardships, you are virtually guaranteeing that your child will know such things.
Study the great men and women of the Bible, the people who were God’s choicest servants. Any study of their lives will show that their character was forged in excruciatingly difficult experiences, just the kind of experiences that many parents try to prevent their children from ever knowing. Abraham and Sarah had their decades of waiting on God to give them a son. Joseph went through a veritable hell on earth before becoming the second-in-command of all Egypt. Job knew what it was to lose everything. David had to face a giant all by himself, and then he had to spend years on the run from King Saul. The apostle Paul had arrests, whippings, a shipwreck, a “thorn in the flesh,” and a whole list of other problems on his resume. The apostle John was banished to the Roman penal colony on the island of Patmos. On and on the list goes.
What am I saying? I’m saying, parent, that just as a butterfly needs to complete its struggle to break free from its cocoon, your child needs those vitally important juices that only the pressures of life can produce. That’s why you must resist the urge to rescue that child from all of his or her problems. Just remember that even though it is always hard to watch a loved one struggle, God can use your child’s struggle in infinitely greater ways than He can use your attempted rescue. I realize this is not something that us parents want to hear, but what I hope you realize is that it’s something that oftentimes we really do need to hear.