Think about the last time you cooked an egg. Maybe you hard-boiled it and turned it into egg salad. Or you fried it so you could dip toast and bacon into the yolk. You might have scrambled the egg, or mixed the egg into brownie batter or cookie dough.
When you cooked this egg, you smashed the thin shell and used what was inside to cook. The egg changed form, maybe it became solid or it mixed with other things, but ultimately, in the end, it was still an egg.
I think that, in the gospel, we are like these eggs and God is the one “cooking” with us. He puts us here on earth, cracks our shells, and uses what we have inside to change us and make us into more than we were before. This change affects each of us differently. When God works with us, maybe we think we’re going to be made into a brownie but we end up as egg salad.
But, in the end, whatever God makes us is exactly the best thing we could be. And, even though we’ve changed a bit in the process, we are still eggs – in other words, we are still God’s children.
It doesn’t matter what else we’ve done or what we’ve turned into. We are God’s children no matter what. That cannot change. Just like an egg, we might get burned at times. Maybe a bit of shell is hiding inside of us still, causing us pain or discomfort. But a burned egg is still an egg, and a hurting child of God is still a child of God.
This is true whether you believe in God or not. He loves you even if you don’t love Him. It hurts Him to see you cry. He works to help you find joy.
Let’s Visit a King
Once, hundreds of years ago, there lived a king. You’d think a king would know who he was and what he needed to do. And the fact is, he thought he did know who he was for most of his life.
Things started to change for him when his son, whom he had placed in charge of some of his people, missed a feast the king had thrown. Angry at this disrespect, and likely worried that something had harmed his son to prevent him from coming to this feast, the king set out to visit his son.
On the road, the king found his son coming toward him on the road. To the king’s dismay, he found that his son wasn’t alone, but was traveling with a man who should have been an enemy to all of them. To make matters worse, his son wasn’t coming to apologize to the king but was going to visit another city as a favor to this enemy. (Alma 20:8-12)
The king, furious, told his son to kill their enemy, but his son refused. Losing all control, the king threatened his son’s life. Then when the enemy attempted to stop him, he turned to kill the enemy instead. (Alma 20:13-20)
The enemy, however, was younger and stronger than the king, and easily disarmed him. The king asked the enemy to spare his life, offering half of his kingdom to the man. But the man chose to spare his life and to refuse the kingdom. He simply asked that the king’s son be safe and that he be allowed to continue on their journey. (Alma 20:21-24)
The king, confused at this mercy, but eager not to die, allowed them to continue on. And this is the moment the king realized that he might be missing something – why would this man, his enemy, show him such kindness? Why wouldn’t he take advantage of the old, weakening king? As they prepared to leave, the king stopped them just long enough to ask that this man, the enemy who had spared his life, visit him. (Alma 20:25-27)
Soon after, the man sent his friends to visit the king. The king received them and told them, “I have been somewhat troubled in mind because of the generosity and the greatness of the words of thy brother” (Alma 22:3). The men proceeded to tell the king all about their God and how they were sent by their God to share these things with him.
The king had never expected to be taught about God by men who should have been his enemies. Yet, as they spoke, he found that he believed every word. What was more, he no longer saw the men as his enemies.
With these changes in his heart and mind, the king prayed to God for the first time in his life, promising to give up all he had if needed so he could know the truth (Alma 22:17-18).
Here’s the Change
This king thought he knew who he was until he was quite old. But when faced with kindness and mercy, things quite foreign to him, he changed forever. This change strengthened him, his entire family, and many of his subjects as well.
The knowledge that he was a son of God changed the whole course of the rest of this old king’s life. It’s a powerful knowledge that no person can gain without changing.
Did it change that the man was a king? No. As a king was he a son of God? Yes. The king was still the same person in the same place as he had always been, but his heart and mind changed, and that is the change God asks us to make.
We can be the person we’ve always been, and also change to be the person God needs us to be. His love for us and our love for Him bring a strong solidity into our lives, and really, by changing our hearts to follow Him, we become who we truly are more than we ever could have otherwise.
Seeing ourselves as God’s children, and others as His children too, liberates us fully, while refusing to accept the truth that we are children of God limits us from reaching our best selves. Life is about change. It’s about bettering ourselves. And the best way to do that is by following the example of a perfect Being who knows and understands us better than we do ourselves.
Maybe you’ll end up as egg salad instead of a brownie – but if you do, you’ll look back and realize that, as much as you thought you wanted to be a brownie, egg salad is actually true to who you are. That God knew what He was doing when He led you toward becoming egg salad.
Personally, I’ve found myself in a place I never thought I’d be in my life. I’m doing things I never thought I’d do, and I’m looking forward to going places and doing things that once seemed utterly out of reach. I’ve left people behind who I thought would be in my life forever, and I’ve become friends with people I thought I’d never be able to connect with.
And, looking back, God has led me every step of the way. He’s put me in a place where I can be helpful to Him, and, hopefully, I’ll be more and more helpful to Him throughout my life. I’m sure that, if you look back over your life, you’ll see the same thing. You’ve ended up in a different place than I have, and we’re all still working toward being what God wants us to be.
But, through all of that, we remain God’s children. And nothing, in my opinion, can be more comforting or can lead me better than that truth.