On State Route 13 near the little village of St. Louisville, Ohio, just where the North Fork Licking River snakes under the highway south of the village, an old gas station stood between the railroad and the highway. It hadn’t been a working gas station for many years. On the mid-summer afternoon twenty years ago when we were there it was a fruit stand.
Lois and I saw the sign that read “fresh peaches” and we stopped. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. It was. They were large peaches fresh from Georgia. I cut one with my pocketknife and we ate it in the shade of the tree, juice running down our arms. We bought a basket of them. I never ate peaches so soft and so sweet. The children gobbled them like candy. They were gone by sundown the next day but we have kept them in our memory for many years.
A soft, sweet, ripe, Georgia peach is a wonderful thing. Just the other afternoon in my study, while I was allowing myself the luxury of reading a short biography of Charles Simeon, I remembered the afternoon of the peaches when I read this story:
“The most fundamental trial that Simeon had – and that we all have – was himself. He had a harsh and self-assertive air about him. One day, early in Simenon’s ministry, he was visiting Henry Venn, who was pastor twelve miles from Cambridge at Yelling. When he left home, Venn’s daughters complained to their father about his manner. Venn took the girls to the backyard and said, “Pick me one of those peaches.” But it was early summer, and “the time of peaches was not yet.” They asked why he would want the green, unripe fruit. Venn replied, “Well, my dears, it is green now, and we must wait; but a little more sun, and a few more showers, and the peach will be ripe and sweet. So it is with Mr. Simeon.” (The Roots of Endurance, John Piper)
Rain, rain, and shine, sun. Make me ripe and sweet while there is still time.
A Classic re-post from 2008