“Let’s go strawberry picking,” I chimed in as we tried to decide what to do on a beautiful early summer Saturday morning.
Every summer since the children could barely hold a pail we’ve picked the plump, juicy berries. One summer I was only a few days away from delivering our third child when we plucked the luscious fruit from short green plants.
Picking strawberries is definitely ground level work. The Creator placed them low, hidden beneath small leaves. Scents of earth and sweetness mix together in tantalizing concoctions.
Kneeling in the soft dirt paths, we call in delight as we discover rosy ripe strawberries waiting under the coverings fashioned by the Maker. “I’ve found one. Look how big it is.” My children run down the paths seeking only the big, red ones.
Picking strawberries is never easy. Bent backs, lifted leaves, and focused seeking for what lies out of sight. Blueberries are different. They grow just where the eyes meet the horizon. The blue, round balls fall easily from the branches.
“Can we eat some now? I already have a few strawberries in the bucket?” one child asks. Then silence.
Looking up from my own treasure hunt I stare mesmerized by my children’s hands holding half-eaten bright red berries, juice dripping down their chins staining their shirts. The pure beauty of their faces leaves me speechless.
They run from one row to another. They’re not systematic in their hunt for strawberries. They look like flittering butterflies looking nectar. A few red jewels are dropped carefully in the buckets, and then several devoured. More are found and saved for fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
My husband and I sit on the ground together working one row at a time, relishing the journey. Hidden fruit takes time to find.
With juice stained faces and pails overflowing with berries, we drive home dreaming of strawberry treats. There will be fresh strawberries washed and savored, refrigerator strawberry jam, delicious strawberry trifle. The hide-and-seek game of picking strawberries has a beautiful ending.
Reading God’s Word is often like picking fruit. Some days His truths are so evident to me. His words of comfort calm my fearful heart. Passages convict me, and draw me to repentance. Questions find answers, and windows are opened where closed doors stood. I don’t need to search.
And yet there are days when the Bible seems empty, a green bush without any fruit. I struggle to understand the words. I read on confident the One who spoke the world into being wants to speak to me.
I work each word; reading, studying, praying. My heart’s pail remains bare while I beg the Lord for insight and wisdom. Silence fills the house while I continue lifting scripture leaves. The fruit is somewhere, a truth I know from walking this journey many times before.
Suddenly, without warning, my Creator shows me the fruit. A verse I’ve read numerous times is perfectly clear. Yes, of course, that’s what it means. A truth hidden behind layers of blindness only the Almighty One can reveal.
Finding and experiencing God’s truth is amazing no matter how it comes. Somehow the fruit He hides in the dark places tastes especially sweet.
A beautiful jewel held in patient hands.
Copyright © 2012 words and photographs by Jane Carole Stein