A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard 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.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. 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 about twenty minutes 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 do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft and mushy. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hardened egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee.
The daughter smiled as she tasted its deep flavor and inhaled its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What's the point, mother?"
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - boiling water - but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin, outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside 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?"
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong? But with pain and adversity, do I wilt and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit but, after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water - the very circumstance that brings the adversity, the pain, and the hardship – into something quite wonderful. When the water gets hot, it releases its fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better, and change the situation around you for the better.
When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity?
ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN?
I heard this story told almost ten years ago when one of my daughters graduated from Junior High. I was able to find it on the internet and I thought about the story when I was reading about King Asa in 2 Chronicles. For the first thirty-six years of his reign, Asa relied on the LORD and he was blessed mightily. But in spite of the apparent success of Asa’s thirty-six years of reign,in his later years, he stopped relying on God and started handling things his way. A prophet named Hanani came to Asa with a rebuke from the LORD. This was his reaction to God’s rebuke in 2 Chronicles 16:10, “Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at that time.”
Unfortunately, in the last five years of Asa reign, his heart became hardened and he did not rely on the LORD as he did earlier. Five years later, Asa died with a hardened heart.
Now let’s compare King David’s reaction to God’s Word when a prophet from the LORD comes to rebuke him for sins that he had committed.
“So David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD.” 2 Samuel 12:13
Immediately after being confronted and convicted by the prophet's words from God, David's heart becomes tender and humble! God accepted David's confession and extended divine forgiveness!
What a big difference between King Asa and King David! One heart becomes hardened, angry and bitter and the other heart becomes more beautiful!
"The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him." 2 Chronicles 16:9