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In Karangayu, a small village in Kendal, Central Java, there lived a woman selling tempeh. Incompetent to do other job, she made tempeh and sold it at a wet market. Nevertheless, she never complained about the little earning that she got. She lived her life happily always in gratitude with the blessing she got in her life. "If this tempeh can take me to heaven, why should I regret it...” there she consoled herself with a great appreciation to her life.
One fine morning, after the Dawn Prayer, she started packing to sell her tempeh. She took a bamboo basket and started filling it with her tempeh that she had wrapped on a long kitchen table. She picked one and opened it. Much to her surprise, her tempeh was not fermented yet in tempeh form. It was still in the form of soya beans, some loose, yet united ties from the fermentation of the yeast to look like a soft white cotton.
The wrapped soya beans still had to wait one more day to be a tempeh. Her body felt weak as she needed the money for her daily spending. She could only imagine, this day she's definitely not going to get money, to eat, and to buy soybeans, and she became so devastated.
In the midst of desperation, hope dawned in her chest. She knew that, if she asked God, surely nothing will be impossible. So, tilting her head up, she raised her hand, she read a prayer. "O Allah, You know my troubles. I know you would love thy humble servant of this. Help me O God, make this soybean to be tempeh. Only to you I leave my fate ... ". In her heart, she believed, God would grant her prayer.
Calmly, she pressed and compressed the wrapper leaf of those tempehs. She still could feel the warmth that ran through the leaves. The fermentation process was still ongoing. Her chest rumbled and nervousness ran through her spine. And slowly, she opened the wrapper leaf of the tempeh. And ... she was disappointed. It was still some loose soybeans and not a tempeh. Forcing a smile, she stood up. She was sure that God was still "processing" her prayer. Her tempeh would be fermented in no time, she became optimistic with it.
She believed, God would not torment the faithful servant like her. Putting all the wrapped soybeans and some half made tempeh into the basket, she prayed again. "Oh God, Nothing is impossible to you. You are the Almighty, that there was nothing I could do other than selling tempeh. Therefore, O God, please grant my prayer ... "
Before locking the door and walked toward the market, she unwrapped another tempeh. It must have been so now, she thought. With a pounding heart, she peered and ... not so. The soybeans were not fully white. There was no change in any of these soybeans fermentation. "Wonders of God will come ... for sure," she cajoled herself confidently.
So she walked to market. Throughout the trip, she believed, "the hand" of God is working to finalize the process of fermentation of her many tempehs in her bamboo basket. Again and again she prayed ... assuring herself, God would grant her prayer.
Reaching the market, she stopped at a corner where she used to sell and she put the basket down. "It must have been now that my tempeh is ready!" she thought. Withtrembling hands, she opened the wrapper leaf of that tempeh, slowly. And.. she jumped!The tempeh was still not changed. Still the same as when she first opened in the kitchen.
Disappointed, tears started to stream her wrinkled cheeks. "Why are my prayers not answered? Why the Tempe is not so? Why is God so unfair? Does He want me to suffer? What have I done?" Thus her inner raged.
With a limp, she placed the half-fermented tempeh on top of a plastic that has been provided. Her hands moved slowly almost lifeless, she had no conviction that people would buy her 'tempeh'. And suddenly she felt hungry and felt so alone. God had forsaken her, she thought.
More tears dripped. She could not imagine selling tomorrow ... tomorrow she would not be able to eat. She saw the market bustle, people passing, and "friends" among sellers at the right side of her Tempeh who began packing his wares as they finished selling theirs. She nodded at them as they bid goodbye and left. Her grief began to peak. She tried to remember if she had experienced this event. She looked down and thought her Tempeh was never in this condition - unfinished, not done. Her sobs increased and became loud weeps. She felt this test was a heavy tribulation for her... ...
In the midst of her sadness, a pat on her shoulder stopped her sobs. She turned to her side and saw a beautiful woman in her midlife smiling and looking at her. "Sorry Madam, do you sell half-finished tempeh? I'm tired from early morning looking around this market for half-finished tempeh, and I cannot find one. Do you have Madam? "
The tempeh seller tempeh was dumbfounded. Unnerved. Suddenly, her face turned pale. Without answering the question of the beautiful woman, she quickly lifted her hands. "Oh God, now I do not want it to be Tempe. Please do not grant my earlier prayer. Leave it alone tempe as before to be half-made, Do not make tempe ... ". Then she immediately took her tempeh. But, doubting it, she put it down again. “I am scared it has become tempeh ..."
"So how Madam? Do you sell those tempeh I want?", asked the woman again. Panic swept over her again. "Dear Lord, how is this? Please God, do not make tempeh huh?" she said repeatedly. And with a trembling hand, she slowly opened the wrapper leaf of that tempeh. In the warm leaf, she still saw tempe which was half-made. "Alhamdulillah!" She cried, involuntarily. She immediately asked the woman how many she wanted and put all she had into a plastic bag and handed it over to the woman feeling so happy.
She asked the woman why she was looking for a half-made tempeh and the beautiful woman answered: "Oohh, it's my son who is studying oversea wants to eat tempeh so I need to buy the half-made tempeh so that when the tempeh reaches my son, it will be just nice and not spoiled already. So when I send tomorrow, the tempeh is still palatable." The woman paid the seller and left. The seller was relieved that her prayers were granted. She packed and repeatedly thanking God.
Morale of the story: In everyday life, we often pray, and "forcing" God to give us what we think is the most suitable for us. And if our prayer is not granted, we feel abandoned, disappointed. But, God knows best what is most suitable for us. Never place any bad feeling or intention to God and believe His plan is PERFECT.
When God grants us our prayers, He listens to us, When God delays granting our prayers, He is testing us, When God doesn't grant us our prayers, He has a better plan for us.
God is perfect and He gives the best to us. He may give something we do not like and as a human being, we kind of like the nice and the things we want not knowing it may be the thing that is bad for us. So when God gives something not of our wish, take it with full acceptance for God is all-knowing.