"If I have found favor in Thy sight, let me know Thy ways, that I may know Thee, so that I may find favor in Thy sight...And the LORD said, My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest."Exodus 33:13a, 14
When I was a little girl, I would come and visit my Grandma and Grandpa at the homestead. Grandpa had a milking cow, steers and pigs. Grandma had a garden and chickens. Early in the morning, my brother and I would follow my Grandpa to the milking barn. We would slop the pigs after lunch, and would round up the steers from the fields in the evening. At mid-morning, I would go to the garden with my Grandma to weed, hoe and pick vegetables. In the afternoon, I would walk with her to the chicken coop and gather eggs.
I was a city girl tramping around the farm with my grandparents. As long as they went with me, the place seemed like a paradise, "flowing with milk and honey."
One day, my Grandma took me berry picking. She made sure I was clothed appropriately. It was a hot, summer day. The long sleeved shirt, heavy blue jeans and thick gloves seemed bulky, cumbersome and uncomfortable in the heat. When I protested, she assured me they were necessary.
We walked through the hay fields in the hot sun. I was miserable and began to complain. She encouraged me. We walked through brambles. She went ahead of me with a machete, clearing the way.
By the time we came to the wild berry bushes all covered with thorns, I believed the trip was a horrible chore. I plopped down and began to pout. Grandma began picking. She also began singing silly songs to entertain me. We were soon laughing. I got up and began picking. I ate more than I put in my bucket, but Grandma worked steadily to fill three buckets of berries.
I helped her carry the third bucket out of the thicket. When we got home, we stripped down and jumped in the cool lake. She gave me the rest of the day off to play with the kittens. That evening, we had fresh blackberries and cream from Buttercup, the cow.
"Man, these are good, Mable," my Grandpa said to my Grandma.
"Martha and I picked them for you," she replied.
Looking back upon those memories, I realized something today.
My Grandma and my Grandpa were living parables of God.
I could not have gone and faced cows, steers or pigs without my Grandpa going with me. As a six year old, I would have been trampled. But with my Grandpa, I went boldly into the stalls.
I could not have been a part of the berry picking experience without my Grandma, who clothed me for the task, who went ahead of me to clear the way, who cheered me with singing, and who shared the joys of her labors with me.
Moses and the people of Israel were afraid to go forward without God. Even though the LORD originally planned to leave the people to their own ways because of their obstinance, the LORD, for the sake of Moses, went with the people.
God sent an angel to clear the way.
God made sure the priests were clothed properly.
God gave the people rules to live by.
My memories with my Grandparents are some of the most precious of my childhood. Wiggling hands under hens to fetch warm, brown eggs. Learning how to milk a cow and squirt a kitten's mouth with fresh milk. Discovering the delights of fresh, handpicked vegetables.
But even more precious is the fact that as they went with me, and I with them, I became a little "Moses."
I found favor in their sight.
I learned their ways.
I knew them.
I found rest and comfort in their presence.
O LORD, I want to know you. Take me with you. Never forsake me.