June is going to end soon, so is the “Second Semester” of 2012- what does our ‘report card’ show? Do we still have that ‘burning spirit’ when we first enter the New Year?
A devotion I read this morning remind me of something. Here’s what I’m gonna share with you, an illustration about “a carrot, an egg, and a coffee bean” (no, it’s not a blog entry about cooking recipe :P)
“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 (I miss Melbourne’s coffee by the way :P).
The boiling water symbolizes problems or pressures in our life. The carrots, eggs, and coffee beans symbolize different human reactions to problems or pressures. The soft carrots represent people who grumble, complain, and pity themselves when faced with problems. The hardened eggs represent those who become stubborn, rebellious, and angry at God during tribulations. But the coffee beans represent people who obey and trust God, changing the atmosphere around them while spreading the fragrance of Christ.
God offers to each of us faith greater than any problem we face. The magnitude of the problem is not as important as our reaction to the problem. Our faith determines how we will respond as we meet the challenges of daily life – as a carrot, a hard-boiled egg, or a coffee bean“ -The Upper Room, Thursday 21 June 2012
Reflecting on this illustration, I realize God allows me to experience problem and life difficulties to challenge me to still praising Him in spite of many strives I’m facing. May and June have been tough and difficult months for me honestly…
It’s easy to praise God when we feel blessed or in good condition -the unbelievers can even do it- However, can we still praise Him in hard times? Can we keep our faith if we do not sense God’s help? I feel it’s very, very difficult.
Many times I’ve been acting like the carrot instead (I was like the egg in my early years following Jesus). Yet it’s very rare I can act like the coffee bean! Overwhelmed by troubles, I don’t even remember or care to ‘spread the fragrance of Christ’ to others because my focus has been too absorbed in the problem itself!
I think this blog has been very often listing my wish/prayer to be ‘more grateful, more patient, more like Christ’, because yes, it depicts how I’m really struggling to be one! I pray these prayers aren’t just empty words, as God’s grace continually sustaining me everyday… Only God can truly judge and know what’s inside my heart. Only Him can truly help me in His divine ways, to turn my ‘identity in my report card’ from a carrot to be a coffee bean instead…
This verse I read yesterday has really strengthened me. I’ve read it many times before but somehow God has opened my mind to a different facet of the verse yesterday.
“Whatever things are true, whatever things have honor, whatever things are upright, whatever things are holy, whatever things are beautiful, whatever things are of value, if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, give thought to these things” – Philippians 4:8 (Bible in Basic English)
Holy Spirit has simplified this verse to me: Think only things that will bring praise to God!
The verse says “.. if there is any praise..”, surely we have at least one everyday, right!? Even though we are in trouble moments, there MUST BE something that we can think of which we can give praise and thanks to God.
Lord, I give thanks to You, God of comfort, God of Shalom! You have reminded me ‘peace’ in Christian life doesn’t mean an absence of problems, but an assurance that You are always with me, never leave nor forsake me, NEVER.