“Like a thorn that goes [without being felt] into a hand of a drunken man, so is a proverb in the mouth of [self-confident] fool.” Proverbs 26:9
When I was 8 years old, I played on a softball team that was organized by the church for whom my dad was working. This team was made up of all kinds of girls from all kinds of places; from Nichols Hills (a wealthy suburb) to the North Highlands (a lower income area) to everything in between.
But out of all of those different lifestyles, I was the homeschooler with an African-American dad and a Caucasian mother with more than two siblings. So I seemed to stick out the most! And guess how many girls were like me on our team? Only one. Me. It also didn’t help that I was one of the smallest ones!
Then came the day when we had to decide on a catcher. Of course, most of the bigger girls were going on and on about how they were the “bravest” and telling us “little ones” to step aside. Oh, and I forgot to add that this was machine-pitched softball. Same speed. Same direction. Every time. So, one of the main girls that had quite a “mouth” declared for all to hear that she was going to be our new catcher.
On the first pitch, she missed it, and the ball hit her on a spot on her leg that didn’t have any padding (this was because she didn’t squat low enough). She looked like she had seen a ghost! In the middle of the next play, she ran over to the dugout, crying, “I want out, coach, I want out. I’m gonna die! ” The coach was stuck between a girl too scared to carry on, and everyone else giving him nothing but “no” for an answer…. until my little voice broke out, “I’ll try it.” I think he was too desperate to question my size, but my dad, being the assistant coach, assured me that I would be fine, and showed me how to stand.
I will admit, those first few pitches were a little startling, but I was glad I was able to help the team go on and finish that game and the rest of the season. The “smack” talk started to cease, and I eventually gained a little more respect from the bigger girls.
It’s funny how we can get carried away by trying to make such a good impression for ourselves that some times we find we have bitten off more then we can chew….literally! I know I’ve found myself wondering many times why I hadn’t kept my mouth shut so I wouldn’t need to try to get out of the mess I created! But I have come to realize that if we’re repentant, God will send that something or someone to help show us the “thorn.” Then we can do the surgery needed to get it out!