Listen: Yolanda Adams, "I Told the Storm," " http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVIPymcDpbA
I love collecting stories that speak to our life and faith challenges. They give a new twist, a fresh insight into the teachings of Jesus and how we are to apply them. Today, as we dig our way out from the major snow storm that hit the Northeastern United States yesterday, we reflect on the storms life sends our way -- illnesses, difficulties with work, changes in relationships, financial problems, emotional turmoil. These life storms chill us to the bone, leave us gasping for breath;knock us over, obstruct our vision, send us skidding and slipping on the road we are on. We are often forced to slow down, work our way home, to safety, inch by inch. When we are in such dire straits, we remember that Jesus said frankly we would have troubles. However, in Jesus, we also have peace. Not a peace that makes things better with a snap of a finger. Not a peace that implies an absence of conflict. The Scriptures call it a "peace that passes all understanding " (Phil. 4:7). It is a peace that we can't comprehend. Peace is God's very nature and is conveyed to us through God's love and grace. We may not feel it, in the human ways we are used to. It is there spiritually -- through the grace of God, the practice of prayer, bible study, worship and service. We find we the presence of God's peace in the midst of struggle. Like a tea bag in hot water, God's peace can fill in the darkest of times -- God is with us. Always. So let us pray for and cultivate peace as we draw close to Jesus; let us hang on to peace as we are led through the storms to the clearing ahead.
Grandmother Says…Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee; “Which are you?”
A young woman went to her grandmother 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 grandmother 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 granddaughter, 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 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 granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked. “What’s the point,grandmother?”
Her grandmother 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 granddaughter.
“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 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 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?
Pray: "Peace-Bearer -- we face so many challenges and decisions. Show us how to cultivate the presence of your grace and peace through all we face. Give us the peace that passes understanding."