Made perfect through suffering


A tract from a passage in ‘Streams of the desert’:

I kept for nearly a year the flask-shaped cocoon of an emperor moth. It is very peculiar in its construction. A narrow opening is left in the neck of the flask, through which the perfect insect forces its way, so that a forsaken cocoon is a entire as one still tenanted, no rupture of the interlacing fibres having taken place.–The great disproportion between the means of egress and the size of the imprisoned insect makes one wonder how the exit is ever accomplished at all—-and it never is without great labour and difficulty. It is supposed that the pressure to which the moth’s body is subjected in passing through such a narrow opening is a provision of nature for forcing the juices into the vessels of the wings, these being less developed at the period of emerging from the chrysalis than they are in other insects.-

I happened to witness the first efforts of my imprisoned moth to escape from its long confinement. During a whole forenoon, from time to time, I watched it patiently striving and struggling to get out It never seemed able to go beyond a certain point, and at last my patience was exhausted.. Very probably, the confining fibre were drier and less elastic than if the cocoon had been left all winter on its native heather, as nature meant it to be. At all events I thought I was wiser and more compassionate than is Maker, and I resolved to give it a helping hand. With the point of my scissors I snipped the confining t hreads to make the exit just a very little easier, and lo immediately, and with perfect ease, out crawled my moth dragging a huge swollen body and little shrivelled wings. In vain I watched to see the marvellous process of expansion in which these silently and swiftly develop before one’s eyes; and as I traced the exquisite spots and markings of diverse colours which were all there in miniature. I longed to see these assume their due proportions and the creature to appear in all its perfect beauty, as it is, in truth, one of the loveliest of its kind. But I looked in vain.

My false tenderness had proved its ruin. It never was anything but a stunted abortion, crawling painfully through that brief life which it should have spent flying through the air on rainbow wings. I have thought of it often, when watching with pitiful eyes those who were struggling with sorrow and distress, and I would fain cut short the discipline and give deliverance. Short-sighted man ! How know I that one of these pangs or groans could be spared ? The far-sighted, perfect love that seeks the perfection of its object does not weakly shrink from present, transient suffering. Because our Father loves His children, He chastise them ( He whom God loveth, he chastiseth ) He spares not for their crying. Made perfect through suffering, they are brought to glory through much tribulation.