September 21, 2010
The Great Middle School Egg Drop
John UpChurch, Editor, Jesus.org
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
(Matthew 5:8, ESV)
The great middle school egg drop turned out to be a dud—at least for me. I got sucked into the concept, the prepubescent glory of it all. I blame the deceptively simple premise: Take one chicken egg—brown or white, the color didn't matter. Contrive a way to cram said egg into a small box such that when the box was thrown from the roof of the school, the egg didn't break.
There may have been some limitations about just what stuffing materials could be used, but I don't remember them now. I do remember my own expectations of crushing everyone else with my ingenious contraption. For my world-beating, shell-protecting design, I decided that all any egg really needs to avoid breakage are rubber bands and pillow stuffing. I simply needed to suspend the egg in the middle of the box with the rubber bands and surround it with as much stuffing as would fit.
Let me just say that an egg is not a cooperative subject in a bid for middle school domination. After an hour or so of frustration, I finally got the little thing to stay connected to the rubber bands (much tape was involved). That lasted only until I began surrounding it with a white cocoon of pillow innards, which yanked the tape free.
Finally, after spending a whole afternoon taping and cramming, my egg drop masterpiece came together. Although no cheering crowds greeted me when I got off the bus the next day, it was only because they didn't know about my creation. Soon, they would know and be amazed.
That afternoon, an intrepid teacher scaled a tall ladder and hauled all the entries to the roof of the school. I don't remember how many entries there were, but it took a while to chuck them off and check the results. When my name was called, I waited expectantly for the moment of triumph. So many others had splattered in failure—and even the ones that had survived were certainly not as amazing as mine.
Finally, my box arced into the air and thudded into the dirt. Nothing oozed out. This was good. When the ground crew picked up the box and pried it open, I smiled—until they said those horrible words: "It's broken."
Because of all the tape and stuffing, the egg guts had been contained by the cellophane and fuzz. But all my work and frustration couldn't keep the shell from taking the brunt of the blow. I'd merely kept the gore from showing on the outside. My chance at self-made glory rose and died in a single thud.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Since those heady middle school days I've learned a thing or two. First, use duct tape. Second, and most importantly, no amount of human contriving or planning or ingenuity can fix something that's fundamentally imperfect on the inside. Two layers of protection shielded my egg—three, if you count the box. But the shell still broke and all the slimy innards oozed out.
After middle school—and, yes, there was life after such a horrible embarrassment—I tried my best to build a beautiful white wall around my life with the words "I'm a good guy" plastered on the outside. Eventually, Christ allowed me to test that barrier when I plummeted to the ground of depression. My carefully constructed façade didn't work because the inside was rotten. In other words, the egg broke.
The only real way to be made strong on the inside is through the dynamite power of the Holy Spirit. And that first involves God scrubbing us clean to make room. When trials come and we find ourselves hitting the dirt, we no longer have to worry about what will seep out. His preparation and His work in us make the core—the heart—pure.