Snow peas and Jonah

Life is too short—and too precious—to sweat the small stuff.

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(Photo: iStock)

The snow pea plants were growing taller each day. My son and I planted them for the Adventurers’ gardener award. My son helped me water the plants and he counted them as they sprouted. He was experiencing the excitement of simply watching seeds grow. However, I was determined to harvest snow peas at the end of the season. They seemed to thrive under the conditions until they were well above a foot high.

One morning, while we were having breakfast, I looked out the window. “Something is wrong with those snow peas!” I remarked. “They aren’t as tall as they used to be.”

I walked past the garden on the way to my car. To my utter amazement, the plants had been attacked. The shoots were brutally torn off and scattered on the ground. Seven shoots survived the attack out of two dozen! It looked suspiciously like the work of our neighbours’ dogs. I was enraged. I yelled out to my husband. Thinking that I was badly hurt, he flew down the stairs to come to my aid. I didn’t have time to talk. I had to be at work and I was already running late. “Make sure the gates are shut today,” I snapped without looking at him.

My son and I drove to town. All the way I was speeding, doing 90 km/h in an 80 zone and 80 km/h in a 50 zone! I took deep breaths to calm myself down. Then the story of Jonah flashed into my mind. To be exact, I saw Jonah pacing under the withered plant, enraged and screaming at God, “Why? Why?” Only this Jonah was in the form of me. I realised my stupidity and the absurdity of what I was feeling. There were millions of people in the world starving and more were suffering the ugly effects of wars and deadly diseases. And here I was losing my senses because the snow peas were attacked.

I felt ashamed in front of my God, who was sitting right there next to me on the passenger seat. I looked in His direction and muttered a quiet apology. Then, knowing that I was completely forgiven and realising how trivial the problem was, I laughed.

“Why are you laughing, Mum?” my son asked from the back seat. I told him what I had just experienced. He chuckled, then said, “I think Jesus is laughing too, Mum.”

Well, what do you know! The snow peas were never attacked again. We made sure the gates were closed at all times so our neighbours’ dogs couldn’t enter my garden. The snow peas grew chest high, flowered and reproduced. There were so many snow peas that we shared them with our small church family.

I felt Jesus’ gentle nudge on my shoulder as I stood watching the snow peas. Then I heard His voice saying, “Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:8,9). With eyes twinkling like a thousand stars, He asked, “So what was the worry about, child?”

I felt childish and ashamed but He gave me a big hug, tilted His head back and shook with a roar of laughter. I joined Him and I was never happier!


Peempahn Henley writes from Moree, NSW, where she lives with her husband, her son and their cat. She is a primary school teacher.

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