Thorns and thistles were an original consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin.
Which thistle grew first after God cursed the ground? It’s impossible to know. Today, Holy Lands are largely arid, with many thistle species. Sun and burning heat dominate landscapes. Once-cultivated areas are an ideal growth environment for thistles.
Assuming that the Garden of Eden was located east of Israel where the Tigris and Euphrates joined, the first thistle grew in that area where Adam and his offspring lived after being expelled from Eden. One thistle present in this region and in Israel for thousands of years is named the blessed milk thistle and St. Mary’s thistle. Once established, milk thistles form two-to-six feet dense clumps. Milk thistle leaves are attractive. They are large, with white veins. When leaves are cut or torn, a milky substance is released.
Sometimes I create an environment for thistles, rather than for flowers, to grow in my life. I take on major projects at home, church, or job. Like Adam and Eve, I’ve sweated over these projects, expending tremendous energy and time. Despite my efforts, some projects failed completely or partially—thistles resulted rather than beautiful flowers.
Looking back on these projects, I know that, more often than not, thistles were a consequence of disobedience. I let pride combined with my desire to “do it my way” block listening to God, whether he was instructing me through another individual, his word (Bible), or my conscience. I grope, sometimes even groan, trying to find my way toward God. I want to obey his word and submit fully to him.
Reflection: Think of times in your life when you tried to reach God, but you couldn’t get to him. You felt like your life was filled with thistles; everything growing in your life was wrong. What did you do? Did it work? If not, propose to yourself other options to try when you find yourself in similar circum- stances in the future.
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