A CUP OF COFFEE
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. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose. 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 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 soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted 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 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 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 become soft 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 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 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.
Ideally, I am sure we would all like to be like the coffee bean. I am sure we would like to believe that we would handle adversity well? The truth is we are often more like the carrot or the egg when faced with troubles. But we do not have to despair that we have not lived up to ideals we set for ourselves. The coming of our Savior Jesus Christ provided the means to deal with our failures and shortcomings. He lived the perfect life for us. His righteousness and perfection are credited to us by faith. He died on the cross that we might have a way to deal with our failures and sins. He died that we might live. We don’t always rise to the occasion when faced with adversity but Jesus did, and because of his, we can face adversity, confident in his power to deal with it. So whatever hardship this new year brings, whether it is weather-related, financial, emotional, or physical, know that Jesus is there for us and hopefully we will respond like the coffee bean confident of the Lord’s help.