It was Saturday. We were wearing white and black, selling our products at the Farmer’s market. It was a hot, humid day. Clouds hung low over our heads holding the warm air close. The sultry heat drove the customers away early. It was closing time and we were ready to get out of the warmth. We just carried the last boxes to the trailer when the first rain drops splashed the pavement. The wind burst, driving storm clouds over-head. We rushed to help our neighbors pack up. Rain came harder. Pounding in sheets Wind blew fierce. Canopies toppled. Venders scrambled to save their wares. The road was a river of water churning up past our ankles. We were all soaked and struggling to hurry weighed down as we were with rainwater. Then the hail stones came. Solid ice the size of quarters beat down on everything and everyone. Stunned, we tried to keep moving, to keep hauling things to safety. Bags of vegetables, framed pictures, strings of jewelry, and beeswax candles, all of it needed stowed in the vender’s cars. Somewhere under the cover of a building, street musicians played on through the storm. It made me think of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.
Clouds moved letting sun stream through the rain. We smiled at each other through the wet. We were able to help all who needed it. We splashed in the water that reached our knees. We were so thankful. God had sheltered us in the midst of the storm. On a typical Saturday, we usually wouldn’t be packed up so soon. But this time we had every piece packed safely in the trailer before a drop of rain hit. And then He allowed us to help all the other venders caught in the storm. Stories of God’s protection and thankful hugs were sweet gifts to take home with us.
Days after the storm, it was time to harvest the shelling peas. The pea plants were bruised and bent from the storm. Their shells scarred from hail stones.
But beneath the damaged shells there hid perfect rows of tender, bright green peas. Breaking the shell open, I slid my finger along the tight row. One by one the peas break off and tumble into the large bowl.
It struck me. The storm, like the damaged pea shells, had concealed bright, tender gifts.
How often does God send us gifts wrapped in hail-damaged shells? These gifts take unwrapping to really see all they hold.
I don’t think I’ll ever look at a hail-damaged pea shell quite the same.