Picking wild blackberries demands knowledge and persistence. Some of the berries look bright red, but since these are not raspberry bushes, we know red berries or those just turning black will taste bitter and seedy. However, since bears and birds feed on these berries, waiting too long means losing the berries to the wildlife.So besides the knowledge about what ripe fruit looks like, the successful berry picker must frequently check the same places. Earlier this summer, we sampled the bitter berries, but this afternoon Dave helped me get on the ATV, and we rode off to harvest the now sweet blackberries that grow at the end of Bearfoot Road. The old bramble-twisted bushes didn’t easily surrender their sweet fruit, and the heat and gnats made picking berries a sticky, demanding task. Still, we wanted to share some of the berries with a neighbor and make a blackberry cobbler. Without Dave’s help, I would have abandoned the task almost immediately. The brambles tore into my jeans and then into my hand; gnats bit my lip and eyelids as sweat rolled down my face; my unsteady balance required Dave’s frequent help just to move me to the next clump of berries. Yet the berries we shared and the ones ready for tomorrow’s baking made the effort worth it.
When I taught at Annapolis Area Christian School, I told my students that studying Scripture would always take knowledge and persistence. Satan wants to keep us from serious Bible study any time he can. Spiritual growth has always taken study tools, time, staying at the task, and sometimes a person with more skill who can help lead the way. I’ll be thinking of blackberry picking as I review Galatians 4 tomorrow morning and appreciating a Savior who helps me see His truths in everyday tasks.