We all face adversity. How do you respond? When times get tough, are you like carrots, eggs, or coffee beans? When you put those items into a pot of boiling water, they respond in different ways.
Carrots go in firm, but the more you turn up the heat, they get soft. They lose strength. When you go through adversity, do you quickly lose hope? Do you turn into a pile of mush?
Eggs are fragile. But when you place an egg in boiling water, what’s inside of it is impacted the most. It grows hard. The egg is no longer easily breakable. So one could argue that the egg responds to the heat by growing stronger, more resilient. But what some describe as resilience is really just being hardened by hardship.
Carrots and eggs have something in common when placed into boiling water. They are greatly influenced when in the heat.
Coffee beans have the best response of all. Coffee beans don’t get soft or grow hard. Instead, they become the influence and flavor the water.
Sometimes we bring about adversity as the consequence of poor decisions. Instead of getting soft in those situations or allowing them to harden your heart, learn from your mistakes and be like the coffee bean. The change starts with you.
Most of the time, we do not get a choice about adversity. Life does not ask us which type of difficulty we handle best or when is a convenient time to face hardship. The water begins to boil, and you just get thrown in.
Will you be influenced like carrots and eggs, or will you be an influencer like coffee beans?
If we want to influence adversity instead of being a victim of it, we need a quality and consistency of character that comes out when life begins to boil.
The Apostle Paul, Dark Roast
The Apostle Paul faced adversity every day. He describes it as a thorn in the flesh that God would not take away. Yet through his adversity, he learned to rely on Christ.
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Notice the list of adversities. “Weaknesses” describes times in which Paul was incapacitated, most likely by sickness. We are all familiar with insults. It’s when someone mistreats you. “Hardship” describes those times when nothing is going right. Persecution is when someone is trying to harm you, marginalize you, or oppress you for what you believe. Finally, the word “calamities” covers tough times of every kind.
But no matter what it was, the grace of God and the power of Christ in Paul’s life were like coffee beans. Christ in Paul became the influence. Hardship was not his prime influencer.
Is Christ in you? When you go through hard times, are you more like carrots, eggs, or coffee beans?
Bible Study and Challenge
Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-10
Why did God give Paul a thorn in the flesh? What was the danger if he didn’t have it?
How did God answer Paul’s prayer?
How does this passage call for you to pray today?
Do a mental inventory of the last time you went through adversity. Were you influenced or was Christ in you the influencer? Compare your response to this passage. Were there prayers in which God gave you a “no” instead of “yes?” If so, how did you respond? What does this passage teach you would have been a better response? How can you prepare for adversity in the future?