I suspect I’ve been listening to melancholy music too much lately, but two of my favorite singer/songwriters, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin, have released new albums filled with songs of loss and sadness but also recovery and redemption. The haunting melodies seep into my subconscious, and I find myself humming and feeling a bit sad.
There is so much heartache in those around me lately too. Friends suffering from cancer and other illnesses. Two people I know lost their spouses unexpectedly. Surgeries, divorces, lost jobs, foreclosures. So much pain and sadness.
It is hard to resist sinking into despair.
My devotion this morning from the Upper Room gave a thought-provoking illustration.
“If carrots, eggs, and coffee beans are boiled, the effect on each item will be different. The carrots will soften, the eggs will harden, and the coffee beans will change the color of the water and spread a delicious aroma.”
The explanation continues that the boiling water is problems in life and the 3 items are our reactions to those problems. Do we become soft like the carrots, complaining and feeling sorry for ourselves? Or hard like the eggs, expressing anger at God and everyone around us?
I strive to be like the coffee beans, “changing the atmosphere around me and spreading the fragrance of Christ.”
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5:3-4
In my own life, each challenge or disappointment has directed me back to God, because don’t you agree that when things are going well, we tend to rely less on Him?
Struggles and heartache cause me to dig down deep, revealing new strengths and abilities that would be undiscovered otherwise. They allow for more empathy when someone else goes through a similar challenge. How comforting is it when someone puts their arm around you and expresses having experienced the same thing? And what hope that you will get through it!
So my question for you today: are you a carrot, an egg or coffee beans?