A Pebble in the Shoe

By David Armstrong, who writes weekly about prayer at Ere You Left Your Room This Morning

I got a pebble in my shoe while hiking up Fraery Peak. At first it was just an irritation, and I ignored it.

After a while it started to become painful. A blister developed.

My guide looked back at me from time to time but kept going at his steady pace. I started to limp, and it was harder to keep up. But I wasn’t going to let a little pebble stop me.

The guide didn’t slacken his pace, and I started to get angry. Surely, he could see I was limping. Why wouldn’t he stop and give me a break?

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The Woodcarver

In the shaded porch of his home in the country, a white-haired man bent intently over his work. He was settled in his favorite chair as if part of the wood frame and cushioning. His brow furrowed in concentration. A small knife flashed in one rough hand, whittling and cutting at a chunk of raw wood in the other. Shavings flew in all directions, flicked aside by the deft movements of the small blade.

The old man often became lost in this minor labor; he had long since retired from working in town. His aged bones ached and his muscles had diminished, but his sinewy hands were still strong. He could make a blade do exactly what he wanted, and he used that skill to produce wood carvings. Most of his models were animals, such as giraffes, elephants, and bears. This one would be a lion.

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The Soda Fountain

Jenna ambled through the lights and sounds of the carnival, absorbing the fun-filled atmosphere. The festivities covered the county fairgrounds—more than four city blocks. As the night went on, Jenna walked back and forth, going wherever whim or interest took her.

After three hours enjoying herself, she realized she was thirsty.

First she bought a fruit smoothie from a concessions booth. The icy mixture soothed her dry mouth and throat. But the satisfaction lasted only a few minutes, and Jenna was thirsty again.

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He Is Faithful Who Promised

“But you promised!”

I imagine that most, if not all, parents have heard this, or a variation on it, from a child. From an early age, children develop the sense that if someone says something that sets certain positive expectations—intentionally or otherwise—it’s a promise. And they sense that promises to them must be kept.

Of course, from the perspective of the adult, sometimes we didn’t intend a statement as a promise at all, which is probably why we find ourselves hedging with responses like “We’ll see” or “Maybe.” We like the wiggle room that gives us, but it hardly instills trust and confidence in our little people. I think that’s one reason why God tends to be more direct.

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The Prince and the Darkness

Author’s note: Because Jesus’s parables used terms and concepts fitting the place and time in which He lived, I’ve attempted to follow the same practice with The Weekly Parable. However, I’ll admit that earlier in my life, I had a goal to become an author of epic fantasy novels, and I still enjoy the genre and related genres like mythology and legends. So this parable—more of an allegory—grew from that part of me when I wrote it in 2016. I’ve made only slight edits.

There was a king who ruled over an immense realm with both benevolence toward his subjects and the might to keep them safe. His eldest heir was in every way like his father: virtuous, strong, skilled, compassionate.

In the fringes of their kingdom lay a cavern where the richest treasure could be found. Any one of the gems contained therein was enough to make the possessor wealthy beyond imagining. These gems held many magical properties, such as the recovery of health and the extension of life. However, an ancient law lay over the cavern that dictated only one person at a time could remove a single gem. And such dangers lurked in the cave as to prevent only but the strongest, wisest, and most diligent from obtaining the prize. Long ago, the king himself had obtained one of the gems, and he lived continually enjoying its benefits.

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