© 2017 Bill Murphy

This subject is a writing prompt of the Little Egypt Writer’s Society of Southern Illinois.

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him … but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

Years before I discovered this scripture, I had a somewhat similar experience, although on a much smaller scale. That childhood event had a profound effect on me, a true ‘corner stone’ experience which has stayed with me all these years.

I was given words that prompt hope and encouragement: Tomorrow will be better.

ThistleI was in grade school at the time, 2nd or 3rd grade. Our family was on day trip to visit relatives. While driving there, I noticed thistles growing by the road.

That week in school, a page in our Fun With Dick and Jane had featured a thistle.  I hollered for Dad to stop. I wanted a thistle to take to class.  Mom and Dad were big on education, and here was a learning prompt.

Dad stopped the car. As I bounded from the vehicle in hot pursuit of my prize, Dad screamed at me to STOP! He understood that thistles are plant-porcupines! I didn’t stop.

I grabbed hold of that thistle with both hands and yanked. Woah! Needless to say, I quickly released the prickly monster. Too late. Both hands were filled with hundreds of tiny needles.

Yes, many of those painful barbs were removed.  But embedded deeply, many remained to torment me. Back home later that day,  I paced in pain and regret.

I remember my Eureka-Moment well. I was standing in my grandmother’s front yard next door, looking at my poor wounded hands. Oh how they hurt.  And then, from somewhere far beyond my young understanding, the though filled my heart. Tomorrow will be better! This day of torment will pass! You will return to joy and happiness.

Did I actually encourage myself? No! I was far too wrapped up in my own little world of painful thistle needles and semi-useless hands to be of much use to myself. Those thoughts of encouragement and hope came from far above and beyond my youth. They were a grand and glorious gift from God!

They were a gift which I still hold dear – and treasure today!




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