Friday, April 4, 2008

Living on the Edge

What makes life interesting and purposeful? I believe it is the daily encounters that put us always on the edge of exhilarating excitement and endless adventure. What am I talking about? Am I a crazy person just mumbling on something that I do not understand or on the verge of an amazing discovery to self-fulfillment? Hmnnn….

Just allow me for the moment to lead you to a journey of unearthing the road leading to new things of great joy in life. Jesus said in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (NIV) Jesus has declared what many people do not want to happen, i.e. to have troubles in life. But if you notice, he has assured us of His peace to become available to us. And much more, He also encouraged us that He has overcome all troubles as well. This is what I call a “Tribulation Sandwich.” It is the troubles of life sandwiched between peace and encouragement of cheer from Jesus. Whenever we eat this sandwich, there are excellent nutrients and blessings in it that awaits every time we take a bite. So don’t be afraid and take a bite out of the many troubles facing you today.

Actually, trouble, trials, tribulations, challenges and whatever we may call any negative things that occur in our daily life are necessary to make our life on the edge. They are vitamins and minerals that add vitality to our daily grind. Although there are people who snort against it yet many have risen above it that made them a better person in the process of time. Let me illustrate it with this story: A daughter complained to her father 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 that as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word. The daughter sucked her teeth and waited impatiently, wondering what he was doing. In about 20 minutes he turned off the burners. He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in another bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a mug. Turning to her he asked, "Darling, what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. She humbly asked, "What does it mean Father?" He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity: Boiling water but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But 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," he asked his daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

How about you? Are you the carrot that seems hard, but with pain and adversity do wilt and become soft, lose your strength? Are you like the egg, which starts off with a malleable heart? Are you fluid spirits, but after a death, a breakup, business bankruptcy, or a layoff have become hardened and stiff? The shell looks the same, but have you become bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and heart? Or are we like the coffee bean? The bean changes the hot water, the thing that is bringing the pain, to its peak flavor when it reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water gets the hottest, it just tastes better. If we are like the bean, when things are at their worst, we get better and make things better around us.

In living your life today, how do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

Let’s talk again!