I was out hiking earlier this week. As I went along the trail, I carefully kept to the center to avoid the plethora of dried out thistles that had grown up around the trail. Where had they all come from? I didn't remember a bunch of thistle plants being there a month ago. How could they have grown as tall as me and then died all in such a short timespan?
As I got to the top of the hill, something caught my eye. A little sunflower. I thought it was growing up out of the thistle patch. Then I noticed: the sunflower was coming out of the stem of the thistle plant. That didn't make any sense! How could it be? Simple: all of those huge "thistles" were actually out-of-season sunflowers.
I chuckled at my mistake. Then it hit me: we do that kind of thing a lot in life. We see something that looks unpleasant at a glance and try so hard to avoid it that we don't realize what it really is. Sometimes God uses the ugly things and circumstances in life to help us learn and grow.
"For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven" - Ecclesiastes 3:1