A year after my mother’s death, I went and sat near my father as he was planting his garden with pea seeds. I just sat there quietly, watching him and enjoying being with him. Eventually, I asked him when the peas would come up. He smiled and said, “If you stay here for a while, get a pan and wait, they will come up by the time I get back from milking. We can pick them and have them for supper.” He then left to go milk the cows, and I sat there, waiting in happy anticipation. I ended up sitting there for several hours.
Sometime during the wait, I went into the house to get a pan for the peas. I came back out to the garden and sat with it on my lap. Then, someone came running from the house hollering at me. I had taken the best pan outside, and that was not a good thing. I was soundly spanked for my error, and the pan was taken back inside. Yet, still I continued to sit there waiting for my dad and the peas.
Of course they didn’t come up that night, and we didn’t have them for supper. Over the years as I grew up, at every family gathering—holiday or birthday—this story came up. My dad would tell it gleefully, and everyone would laugh at how ‘dumb’ I was. It was a source of embarrassment and shame to me. Only many years later, as a mom, did I realize that my dad told the story because he was embarrassed that I had actually believed him and had sat there that long, waiting. He felt guilty because of it. So, at that realization, I was able to forgive him, though I still didn’t like the story of the peas in any way, shape or form.
In my 40’s, as I was taking a bath, just enjoying the warmth and not thinking of anything in particular, I suddenly had a vision. I saw myself at six years of age, sitting on the grass at the edge of a large piece of land. The dirt was vividly, deeply black and rich looking. The size of that land appeared huge to my child’s eyes. The sun was shining brilliantly, and I was peaceful and happy just sitting there holding a pan in my lap.
In a nanosecond, the Lord revealed to me His loving perspective of that incident with the peas. He showed me how I had believed my father’s word about the peas coming up that evening for supper. He pointed out how I had been willing to sit and wait as long as I needed, with quiet, confident and joyful expectation for my father’s word to come to pass, and how I had also demonstrated and proven my trust in him and his word, by going and getting the pan he told me to get, and at the same time, it had to be the ‘best’ and nothing less than the best, for I wanted only the best for my father.
I had been ‘persecuted’ and ‘ridiculed’ for my faith by that spanking and the jokes made over the years. But through it all, I felt the Lord’s pleasure because of what I’d done; how I’d shown trust in, and love for, my father; how I’d had the willingness to be ‘punished’ for simply obeying and to endure the ‘persecution’ that came along with it. Immediately, I said out loud with understanding and joy about my life as a whole: “Ohhh! I’m just sitting in the pea patch, waiting for the peas to come up!”
I love how Jesus can take a shameful experience and, in the blink of an eye, turn it slightly, showing it from a different perspective while revealing rich spiritual truth, such that, rather than remaining a thing of shame, it suddenly becomes a deep pleasure. Finally, thankfully, we are allowed to see what He has seen all along.
All these many years now, I’ve been sitting here waiting on the Lord for my ‘peas’ to come up.