Sunday, May 22, 2011

Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee Beans?

This is a story I got through e-mail when I was a college student. At the time, I was grieving over the death of a boyfriend and experiencing health issues, on top of going to school full time. I read this story and loved the message of hope and encouragement of how to get through the hard times and come out on top, better than ever. Isaiah 48:10 says: "Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." We know that God is in the business of refining us making us even more beautiful.

Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee Beans?

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.

The mother brought the daughter closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked her to to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked. "What does it mean, 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 layoff, 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 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?


  1. Thanks for the reminder, Emily, that we can be changed for good by our circumstances, rather than becoming hard or bitter or falling apart. This was an encouragement to me and I'll be sure to pass it along to members of my connect group who are going through tough times.

  2. What a great story. Thanks for sharing. I agree with Paula...wonderful reminder and good for passing along as well.

  3. How inspiring? It spoke to me right when I needed it. Thank you

  4. Great story. I'm choosing not to say which one I'm most like. :) But I can say I'd like to be like the coffee (with a shot or two of chocolate flavoring).

  5. I knew I loved coffee for a reason....great story!