The boys are doing a science experiment. They have Ball jars half-full of white vinegar. Floating in each jar of vinegar is an egg.
After a day or so the shell begins to soften. The egg is wrapped in bubbles, and the boys think this is the coolest thing.
After another day, when the boys plunge their fingers into the jars to retrieve the egg, they find that the shell is filmy.
And it doesn't take too much longer before the shell is broken down and there is just the egg. It's spongy. Solid. Springy. They can press and shape it (but only over the sink). The hard, crusty shell is gone and only the pliable remains.
So I look at this egg, and as weird as it sounds, I see my own heart.
Sometimes there's a hard covering.
Sometimes I need, I want, for this shell to be broken down. I want my heart to be soft, open, and ready for God's tender, refining work.
It's not there all the time, this shell. But when it comes, it covers hard. Like when I'm hurt and I throw words like a prizefighter throws punches. Or when I'm angry and sulk behind self-erected walls.
My boys have quite a time with these eggs. It's been fun for them to see.
But if I look a little deeper there's a lesson.
A lesson and a prayer.
God, break down the hard spots on my heart. You know where they are. Make my heart pliable and soft and open to You.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26