Isaiah 44:6-8; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Our gospel lesson for today made me recall what I remember as the very first theological conundrum of my childhood. I was probably 7 or 8 years old, it was summertime, and my Mom had admonished me to go outside and play. I suspect on that particular day I had been a bee in my mother’s bonnet. I walked outside into the front yard barefoot, enjoying the feeling of the warm grass between my toes. That is until I experienced the sensation of sharp pain all over the bottom of my foot. I jerked my foot up quickly as I looked down to discover that I had stepped squarely on a thistle. After I had recovered from the pain, made sure there were no needles stuck in my foot, and surveyed the scene hoping that my parents had not heard the expletive I had shouted (not necessarily in that order), I began to wonder why God made thistles in the first place. What was the purpose or a thistle? Why did God create something to inflict pain on a barefooted kid such as myself?