A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. On the day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force its body through that little hole.
Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. It just seemed to be stuck. Then the man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily.
But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
The man in his kindness and haste did not understand that the restricting cocoon and the struggle were God's way of preparing it for flight. The small opening was actually forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be light enough for flight the fluid was gone. So, when it had finally achieved freedom from the cocoon, there were no more obstacles to taking off. Freedom and flight would come only after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of strength and health. When it came time to take flight, he was too weighed down by the water still hanging to his body.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. It is the only way to grow up. If God allowed us to go through life without obstacles, it would keep us from taking off. As St. Paul said, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Trials get us ready to soar. They strip us of the weight of sin that hangs on to us from the past. Without them, we will not be as strong as we could have been, or as strong as we need to be.