Two Pebbles

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Many years ago a London merchant owed a huge sum to a moneylender. The creditor, who was old and ugly, fancied the merchant's daughter and proposed a bargain. He told them he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty bag and have the girl pick out one of the pebbles.

If she chose the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father's debt would be canceled. If she chose the white pebble, she would stay with her father and the debt would still be canceled. If she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail and she would starve.

As the moneylender stooped to pick up the pebbles from the pebble-strewn path, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked her to choose.


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Ok, let's pause here to think of a solution to the girl's dilemma. Can you think of any way out? If she refuses to choose a pebble, the father will go to jail and the daughter will starve? Is that the "least bad" of her choices? If one follows human logic, "linear" logic, it seems there is no way out. But, "lateral" thinking might discover a way out. Well, maybe there's a solution to the girl's problem which will turn the old man's treachery back on him. What did she do?


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The girl put her hand into the bag and drew out a pebble. Then, without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall, where it was immediately lost among the thousands of other pebbles in the path.

"Oh, how clumsy of me!" she said. "But, never mind, if you look into the bag you will be able to tell which pebble I took by the color of the one that is left."


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Simple, eh? Well, that's the way it is many times with our problems. God really has provided a simple solution, but we are stuck the rut of human logic. God promised that He "will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." The solution is always there! But, we often can't see it - or don't want to see it.