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 she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seems as one problem was solved a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled 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.
Now turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” was the reply.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got 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 smiles, as she tasted its rich aroma.
The daughter then asked, “What is the point mother?”
Her mother explained that each of the objects had face 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. However, 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 one are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, egg, or a coffee bean?”
Which one am I?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, 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?
Am I the carrot the seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and loose my strength?
Am I the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, with 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 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?
The theory: Do not tell GOD how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your GOD is! While this a rather poor attempt in poetry to make this vivid image into a spiritual message, there is a theological flaw in this statement. It begins, “Do not tell GOD how big your storm is.” That is not good Biblical theology. The book of Psalms contains one example after another of doing just that – telling God how big our storm is. The point of the message of the prophet Isaiah is that we are to place our trust in God. It is by God’s power that we weather the storm.
It is the very sharing with God just how big our storm is that we know the strength that is from God. We are not informing God of anything. God knows that we are in the middles of ‘boiling water.’ The prayer, the sharing with God, is the way that we accept God’s grace in our lives. In accepting that grace, we remind ourselves that the good shepherd is walking with us in the dark valley.
Lift your eye and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Tell the storm how big your GOD is! Our GOD is bigger than the storms of life! Hear God’s promise. The Lord everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. Hear God’s promise. God gives strength to the weary, and increase the power of the weak. It is by God’s grace and the strength and power that comes from that we are able to transform the ‘boiling water’ into something of hope and joy. Hear God’s promise. Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
God expects us to come calling. God expects us to tell the One who flung the stars into the heaven all about our problems. Not because God does not know, but because that is the way we know that God cares and the God is with us.
The Rev. Deacon Dennis Klinzing is a deacon in the United States Old Catholic Church. He is stationed in Augusta, Georgia. He is working his way toward the priesthood. He, his partner, and his two children live in Augusta, GA.