Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to us is what we do to ourselves.
Our dog Scrabble is a ten-year-old Shih Tzu (yes, the breed is pronounced like the curse word). He is a wonderful dog who gets himself into a lot of trouble. After Scrabble had his morning constitutional in our yard, I brought him back into the house, and reached to pat him on his face. His beard had about five of the nasty objects you see pictured below.
I reached down to pull out the thistles from Scrabble’s beard. He wanted no part of it! No amount of assurance convinced him I was trying to help him. He began to lick me and even bite at me (after all, I was pulling at his facial hair!). He did not understand that he needed me to remove those thistles immediately. I was unsuccessful in pulling the thistles out by myself. In fact, I was the one getting hurt as Scrabble jerked his head away from my trying to get the thistles out. And I got stabbed numerous times.
It wasn’t until my wife Linda helped me that I understood what had really happened. As she held Scrabble down, I was able to cut out the thistles without having to pull them out. I had assumed that Scrabble had picked up the thistles from the bushes in our front yard as he was exploring.
My wife told me that those five thistles were the ones she had plucked off the laces of her sneakers the other day. She had put them on the end table in our family room, intending to throw them away later. Scrabble had jumped up on the couch and picked them up as he looked for something to eat (leftover ice cream in a cup, a piece of chocolate, anything). He had inflicted himself with the thistles. His doing what he should not have done brought him pain — and brought me pain.
The Moral: For me, this episode with Scrabble reminded me that much of the damage done to me I’ve done to myself. And the Lord, wanting to pull out the thistles of my life, patiently allows me to jerk and shake my head, inflicting pain on Him in the process. May I ask you, have you got any thistles?