Carrot, egg or coffee bean?
There’s a story of a young woman who went to visit her mum, as she needed to talk about how difficult things were for her at this time. It just seemed like she was fighting one problem after another. Her mum listened patiently, then took her daughter into the kitchen, where she filled three pots with water and placed each on the hob. Soon the water in the pots came to the boil.
In the first pot the mum placed carrots, in the second eggs, and in the last pot she put a few spoonsful of ground coffee. Without saying a word, the two women watched the bubbling water. After a few minutes, her mum turned the heat down on each ring, one by one. First, she drained out the carrots and they went in one bowl. She then removed the eggs from the water, to place them in a separate bowl. Finally, she strained the coffee and placed it in a jug.
The mum asked her daughter to feel the carrots. She commented that they were soft, as they fell apart when her fingers applied a little pressure. The mum then asked her daughter to take an egg and break it. After peeling off the shell, they talked about how hard the boiled egg had become, in comparison to how fragile it was before. Finally, the mother asked her daughter to sip some coffee. The daughter smiled, as the aroma arose to fill her senses and she delighted at the richness of the coffee.
The daughter then asked, ‘What does it mean though?’ Her mum explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity, however, ‘what you need to notice is how each one reacted differently’. ‘The carrot went in hard and unrelenting. But, after being subjected to the adversity, it became weaker, just as some can become weakened in spirit, by the pressures of life. The egg had been fragile, but after sitting through the adversity it faced, it hardened on the inside, just as some can become hardened in heart, by experiences endured. However, the ground coffee beans are different. After being subjected to the boiling, the water was changed. The coffee beans reacted to the adversity in such way that created something marvellous, the circumstances were changed and something good emerged’.
When adversity knocks on the door we can respond like the carrot, egg or coffee bean. There are times in life where adversity can harden hearts, weaken spirits, or as we trust God to carry us through, we become something different altogether, with a rich and lasting ability to change the atmosphere around us, developing faith and trust from which something wonderful emerges. Life might be difficult at times, but how we respond has significant results with eternal significance. Will we boldly walk in faith, trusting Jesus to make us the ones to have a profound effect on the world around us?
Prayer … Lord, hear our prayer as we choose to rejoice in the God of our salvation, and to refuse to doubt or to be discouraged. May this be evident for all to see, as we enter into this new encounter with Jesus, choosing to follow his ways with confidence, knowing the Lord himself goes before us and will be with us; he will never leave us nor forsake us. So we will not be afraid; nor will we be discouraged. Amen