Trials & Tests by Tony Evans

The story is told of a young boy who discovered a cocoon in a back yard tree. He studied the cocoon carefully, seeking some sign of life. At last, several days later, the boy saw what he had been waiting for. Inside the filmy shell, a newly-formed butterfly was struggling to get out.

Filled with compassion for the tiny creature, the boy used his pocket knife to enlarge the hole. Exhausted, the butterfly tumbled out and lay there. What the boy didn’t know was that the struggle to escape was designed to strengthen the butterfly’s muscle system and prepare it for flight. His act of “compassion” had inadvertently crippled and ultimately doomed the butterfly.

The night before he was crucified, Jesus prayed to His Father, asking him not to take us out of the world, but to keep us safe in the world. The goal, Jesus realized, was not to steer around difficulty, but to navigate safely through it.

That concept seems troublesome to some of us. Somehow, we have gotten the idea that Christianity is designed to be a lifetime of smooth sailing. Not true. Imagine a basketball player stumbling to the sidelines saying, “Well, coach, I would have scored. But every time I go up to make a shot, there’s some guy from the other team with his hand in front of my face.” It doesn’t take a veteran coach to arrive at an answer. “The guy from the other team is supposed to have his hand in your face. That’s the way the game is played. It is his job to do all he can to prevent your success.” In basketball, like in life, obstacles are inevitable.

Letting patience have its perfect effect means that we must not lay down our pencils halfway through the exam. Even if you have answered each question correctly, quitting at the halfway point limits your score to 50% an F at most schools.

Working through our tests from beginning to end is much easier when we understand that God has a purpose for our problems. Like the butterfly in the cocoon, getting from point A to point B is not the entire agenda. The process of getting there is equally important.

God understands that the process is as important as the result. That’s why He sometimes elects not to deliver us from certain situations.

For His Kingdom,
Tony Evans

The Urban Alternative

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