Emails are often forwarded that end with the all inclusive statement, “send this to 2.5 billion people within the next 20 minutes and something good will happen in your life” or the guilt laden, “if you are not afraid to profess Jesus as your Savior, then forward this email to every one in your address book and on that day He will acknowledge you in heaven…” As a general rule, I read, but then delete those emails. Sometimes I even designate the person to my junk mail folder... However, every now and again a good one comes along. I sometimes choose to share it in this medium. This is one of those times.
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and about how things were so difficult for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as if when one problem was solved, a new one arose to take its place.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.
In twenty minutes or so, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see." "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.
Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take the egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma the daughter then asked, "What does it all mean, mother?"
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - the boiling water. Yet each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water its insides became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”
We too can ask ourselves, “Which am I?”
Are you the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do you wilt and become soft and lose your strength?
Are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Do you have a fluid spirit but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, do you become hardened and stiff? Does your shell look the same, but on the inside are you bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity?
p.s. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)