The following story arrived in my e-mail today and I wanted to share it:
A young girl complained to her father that she was tired of the struggles of every day life. It seemed that just as one problem was solved, another arose. Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen, filled three pots with water and turned the heat on high. Soon the three pots came to a boil. In one pot he placed a carrot, in the other he placed an egg, and in the last he placed ground coffee beans. The father and child sat while the items in the pots boiled, all the while the young girl was wondering why her father was cooking when she had come to him for help with her problems.
Thirty minutes later, the father took the carrot, egg, and coffee out of each pot and put them in separate bowls and let them cool. The father then instructed his daughter to feel the carrot. The young girl noted that the carrot was soft and mushy. He then asked her to take the egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Her face frowned at the strong taste of the coffee.
"What does it all mean, Father?" The father explained, "Each item faced the same adversity; 212 degrees of boiling water for 30 minutes, however, each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong and hard, but came out soft and weak. The egg was fragile; a thin, outer shell protecting a liquid center. But after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The coffee beans became stronger and richer and permeated the water."
"Which are you?" he asked his daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you the carrot, which seems tough, but wilts with the smallest amount of pain or adversity? Are you the egg which starts off with a malleable heart, but after experiencing the trials of life you become hardened and bitter?
Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean does not get its peak flavor and robust until it reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit. When life is at its toughest, you are at your best. When the hour is the darkest, and trials are their greatest, your worship elevates to another level. How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:9-10