We all love our comfort. Americans spend lots of money on plush recliners, deluxe mattresses, luxurious sheets, and even swanky shoes — all promising “ultimate comfort.” Life isn’t always comfortable though. In fact, a lot of life is just plain hard. If we respond poorly, tough times can turn us into people we don’t want to be.
Pain can produce anger, bitterness, loneliness, and despair, or it can produce humility, compassion, determination, and endurance. A friend shared the following story about adversity with me:
The Coffee Bean
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how hard things were 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. Whenever one problem was solved a new one took its place.
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 all three pots 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. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. They were soft. She then asked her to break one of the eggs. It was hard-boiled. 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 but came out soft and weak. The egg went in fragile but emerged hard. But the ground coffee beans were unique, for they transformed the water into something wonderful.
“Which of the three 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? Don’t tell God how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your God is!” (Author Unknown)
Only God can bring fullness out of adversity. He loves to turn adversity into something beautiful… if we’ll let Him.
What are your current struggles and challenges? We seldom know ahead of time how the Lord will use our trials for our good or the good of others, but be assured that He will. So, how will you respond to your current challenges?
Jim Grassi, D. Min. and Wendell Morton
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5