Where's the Scent?
"The Lord disciplines those he loves ... for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."1
Earl Nightingale told how on one National Secretaries Day he gave his secretary flowers and she remarked how beautiful they were. She also said that she couldn't understand why they didn't have any scent.
He informed her that the flowers came from a hothouse and explained that because flowers raised in this type of environment have everything done for them, they don't have to attract insects to pollinate them. As a result, they lose their scent. In the same way fruit raised in a hothouse, because it doesn't need to attract insects to scatter its seeds, doesn't taste as good as fruit grown in its natural environment.
It's similar to the child who wanted to help a butterfly out of its cocoon by putting a slit in it and, in so doing caused it to die. He didn't realize that the struggle to get out of the cocoon is needed to strengthen the butterfly's wings, which enables it to fly.
When people do too much for us or overprotect us, especially in our early developmental years, they can do serious harm to us. And even in adulthood it's the problems and difficulties we have that strengthen us, build out character, and teach us wisdom, understanding, and compassion—if we let them—and enable us to "fly." This is why God disciplines those whom he loves by allowing us to go through difficult times. The same principle applies to us if and when we want the government to do for us that which we are capable of doing for ourselves.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to yield to your discipline and to see in all the struggles of life that you are wanting me to 'grow in faith and love and every grace, more of your salvation know and seek more earnestly your face.' Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus' name, Amen."
Note: for further help read, "Lessons from Suffering" at: http://tinyurl.com/exuyw.
1. Hebrews 12:6, 10, 11 (NIV).