The wheat stood bright and golden in the big field, and Peter liked to watch as puffs of wind blew across it. “It waves, Father, just like water!” he exclaimed.
Peter’s father smiled and put his rough hand on the boy’s fair head. “Yes, it does, son. And tomorrow the machines will start rolling through it.”
Peter knew what machines his father meant. They were the big combines that went around and around the field. They harvested the grain from the growing stalks of wheat and dumped it in trucks to be hauled to the market in town.
The wheat crop had been good this year in Argentina, the country where Peter and his family lived, and Peter had had lots of fun playing in the field. Now, in a way, he was a little sad to think that he wouldn’t be able to see the grain waving in the wind much longer. If the combines started in the morning, most likely by evening the whole field would be harvested.
“I’ll miss the wheat, Father,” Peter mourned.
Father smiled and nodded his head. “I guess I will too. But it is harvesttime. You know the Bible tells us that there is a time to sow and a time to harvest. We sowed the wheat at the right time, and it grew green and tall. After many weeks the wind and rain made it ripen. Now it is ready to be harvested. If it stands too long, the wheat stems will weaken and fall. Then we will lose the grain.”
Quietly Peter listened to his father, then he smiled too. He knew that his parents needed the money the wheat would bring to help them live through the coming winter. Slowly Peter reached out and took his father’s hand. “I’m glad it is harvest time,” he said.
Father squeezed Peter’s hand tightly in his. “I’m glad it is too.”
Early the next morning Peter and his small sister, Rosita, went outside to watch for the big combines to come down the road from town. The sky was clear and bright and the sun rose higher and higher. A long time passed, but the combines did not come.
Rosita grew restless. “Let’s do something else,” she begged. “I’m tired of watching for the ‘bines.”
Peter laughed. “All right. Why don’t we chase butterflies for a change? I just saw one fly into the wheat field.”
“Oh, yes!” exclaimed Rosita happily. “I see one right now.”
Away she ran toward the house as fast as her chubby little legs would carry her, following the pretty butterfly. For a few seconds Peter watched her. Then he saw a big beautiful butterfly of many colors flitting past and began a chase of his own.
Just how long Peter chased butterflies he didn’t know. He soon lost the big butterfly, but he saw others of all colors and sizes. He forgot about Rosita. And he forgot about the combines, too, until he heard them coming down the road.
“Rosita!” he shouted at his little sister, starting back toward the house. “Here comes the combines!”
But Rosita didn’t answer. Mother heard Peter and came out on the porch.
“Rosita isn’t with me,” Mother said. “I thought she went out with you to watch for the combines.”
“She did,” Peter explained, “but we began chasing butterflies. I saw her chase one toward the house.”
Peter saw his father coming from the barn, and he ran to meet him. “Father, is Rosita at the barn?” he called.
“No,” Father answered in a puzzled voice. “I thought she was with you.”
Peter wanted to cry. “She was,” he explained again, “but we began chasing butterflies, and now I don’t know where she is.”
Father looked worried, but he patted Peter’s shoulder. “We’ll find her,” he comforted. “I’ll tell the men not to start the combines. Rosita may be in the wheat field.”
With a sinking heart Peter stared across the acres and acres of waving grain. How would they ever find his little sister in such a big field?
But Father had a plan. Mother and Peter would join hands and walk across the field. “We will walk and call until we reach the back side,” Father explained. “Then we will turn and walk back again. That way we won’t miss any ground. Rosita may have sat down somewhere to rest and fallen asleep. If she had, she won’t hear us call. If we don’t join hands, in this tall wheat we may miss her.”
The men thought the plan was a good one. As they all lined up and joined hands, Father prayed and asked for Jesus’ help.
When the prayer was over, Peter took Father’s hand and looked around for someone else’s hand. But there was no one else. He was on the end of the line.
Father looked down at Peter and said softly, “Just take hold of Jesus’ hand, son. He will help us find Rosita.”
As they began moving across the field Peter almost felt that Jesus was holding his hand. The wheat was very tall. It was over his head in places, but somehow it wasn’t hard to walk through.
All up and down the line Peter could hear the men calling Rosita’s name. Mother and Father called too. Peter didn’t call. He had to keep up with his father, who could take long steps.
All at once Peter pulled his hand from Father’s and began to run through the wheat field. When he was a little way ahead of the others, he stopped and knelt down and prayed. He could hear Father calling him to come back before he got lost too. But when he had finished praying, he got up and ran in another direction. Something seemed to tell him to keep going. On and on he ran.
Then suddenly he stopped and stood still. Right in front of him was Rosita. She was fast asleep, her head pillowed on a little pile of wheat stalks.
“Father!” Peter shouted as loudly as he could. “Father, here’s Rosita. I’ve found her!”
When Father came, Rosita woke up and rubbed her eyes. “I got losted,” she sniffled. “I called and called, but no one knew where I was.”
Peter reached out and took her hand. “Jesus knew where you were,” he told her. “He helped me find you. Father told me to take Jesus’ hand when we joined hands to look for you, and Jesus told me what to do.”
By this time the others who had been looking for Rosita came up to where she was. They heard what Peter said. One of the men smiled at him and said, “Son, I think Jesus really did take your hand. I think He led you right to your little sister.”
Peter smiled back at the man. He thought that Jesus had too. In fact, he was certain that Jesus had stretched His hand across the whole wheat field!
Heaven, Please! Helena Welch, 10–15.