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My paternal grandfather loved life and loved life’s author even more. His was a quick and ready wit, his laughter bubbled over without much forewarning. He derived great joy from helping people learn their way around the Scriptures, teaching them to feed themselves and live so as to bring delight to the Savior.

One of Grandpa’s favorite songs was a gentle and contemplative one, “My God and I”. I remember hearing him hum it quietly out in the yard when we were over at their house, and especially remember trying to sing along with him sitting between Grandpa and Dad on the way up the Colorado Rockies to go stream fishing. He and Dad sang it duet-style that day, the kid with a buzz-cut between them trying to match words now and then and harmonize a little bit. Why do I remember that scene? I don’t know. It’s just one of those little memory video clips tucked away that I enjoy now and then. The song came to mind on my walk this morning, so I’ve been reminiscing a little.

Grandpa Ransom didn’t always get along well with God or His people. An aggressive, driven ranch foreman on the central plains of Nebraska, he had no use for spirituality, the Bible, God, or people who found them important. They were weaklings and he wanted nothing to do with them. At one point he warned his wife that if he ever caught the preacher on their property he’d wish he hadn’t. But Heaven had plans for him he didn’t know about. God reached him. He drew Ray to himself, won his heart and the callused ranch foreman said “yes” to the Savior. Things changed at home, and his appetite for the Word of God grew to insatiable. Eventually the day came when he kissed his wife and children good-bye and headed to Chicago and Moody Bible Institute to study formally. He studied hard and took copious notes; I have some of them in my library.

But he wasn’t allowed to finish. In truth, he barely got started by today’s standards. God needed him there just long enough for him to learn how to study the Word.  He was only there a quarter before being beckoned to return and lead the little country church at home. Ray left the city and returned to the flock that was now his.  For the rest of his ministry life he and his professors had class at his desk in the study, their printed lectures and commentary his instruction. He delved into the word of God, walked and talked with God, and shared the best of what he learned with the people in his care as pastor, Bible teacher, encourager and mentor to many.

In November, 1979 Grandpa was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  Six months later the Lord whispered that his place in Glory was ready and in May of 1980 he moved home again, this time to the place his Lord prepared for him.

So I’m remembering today – they’re great memories.

I’m following the example of one who went before me – and it’s a good example.

I’m smiling today knowing that the same God who was Grandpa’s friend is my friend too. And He doesn’t change. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever, and that brings me great hope and confidence.

Grandpa’s laughter came quickly, Dad’s did, mine does too.

His love of the Word was contagious, as was Dad’s, and I see evidence around me that mine is too.

Grandpa was devoted to shepherding God’s people, Dad was, as am I.

Lots of things about life are carrying down; good things I want to pass on to my kids and grand-kids. Among them is a friend-with-God approach to life. (See John 15.9-17 for Jesus’ perspective on our being His friends.)

Here’s the song. If you like the text you may need to find an old hymnal in your church library so you can plunk out the tune. Don’t play it too fast, OK? The walk mentioned in the opening lines wasn’t an aerobic walk at all. It was the kind of walk friends enjoy in the calm of the day to quiet the soul and enjoy the fellowship. Enjoy —

My God And I

My God and I go in the field together;
We walk and talk as good friends should and do;
We clasp our hands, our voices ring with laughter;
My God and I walk through the meadow’s hue.
We clasp our hands, our voices ring with laughter;
My God and I walk through the meadow’s hue.

He tells me of the years that went before me
When heavenly plans were made for me to be;
When all was but a dream of dim reflection;
To come to life, earth’s verdant glory see.
When all was but a dream of dim reflection;
To come to life, earth’s verdant glory see.

My God and I will go for aye together,
We’ll walk and talk just as good friends do;
This earth will pass, and with it common trifles,
But God and I will go unendingly.
This earth will pass, and with it common trifles,
But God and I will go unendingly.

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