It was storming outside, and the only sound in the cabin was Father’s voice quietly explaining why he had given flour to those who had come by during the day. There was much sickness in the little community and a mixture of flour and water seemed to be the best possible medicine.
Patiently Father reminded the children that they had been especially blessed because none of them had had the strange “winter sickness.” Even though the crops had failed in the fall, it had been possible for him to trade flour for the wagons he made for his neighbors or for pioneers going through Fillmore on their way to the west coast.
Early that morning Mother said, “Please don’t give away any more flour, Father. There’s only enough left for a little bread for our own children.”
Before Father could answer, a knock came at the door. A neighbor stood outside. He said he needed some flour for his sick wife.
Even the youngest child was touched by the look of gratitude on the neighbor’s face when Father filled a cup with flour, gave it to him, and said, “Be of good faith; the Lord will provide.”
A few minutes later another knock was heard and when Father opened the door, a young man hurried in. The family knew Father could not refuse help when the worried young father said, “Oh, Brother Carling, my baby is dying! I must have some flour.”
After the young man left with the flour, Mother started to cry. Father gently put his arm around her and suggested that the family kneel with him in prayer. A feeling of peace and hope came into the little cabin as Father expressed thanks for health, for warmth, and for safety on such a cold November day. Then he prayed that in some way it might be possible for them and their neighbors to get food, especially some flour.
After the prayer, Father suggested that Mother try to scrape together enough flour from the box to make a little gravy. To her surprise there was plenty for that and some flour was still left over.
While the family was eating, another knock was heard at the door. The man standing outside said he needed the services of a good wagonmaker and had been told Father might be able to help. “I have twenty tons of flour here,” he said. “I wonder if I could trade flour for wagons!”
As Krista helped her older sister prepare dinner, she often stopped and looked out the window at the rain. She didn’t mind the storm, but the girls were anxious for Father to return with word about Mother who had taken the baby to a hospital hundreds of miles away for surgery.
Dinner was all ready when Father finally arrived home. Before eating, however, he suggested that they kneel down for a blessing on the food and a special prayer for health and protection for each one in the family.
The storm seemed to grow worse every minute. While the girls were doing the dishes, a patient of Father’s called. He needed emergency treatment for an aching tooth.
Krista wanted to ride to the office with Father so together they splashed through heavy water to the car and then headed toward his office.
It was still raining when Father finished treating the man’s tooth and they all left the office. Just as Father made a turn off the freeway, someone on a high bank above them frantically honked a warning horn, but the warning came too late!
Rushing floodwaters poured onto the car, lifting and turning it. Father managed to roll down a window and push Krista partway through so two boys on the bank could pull her out and carry her to safety, but it was impossible for him to climb out of the car as it swept along on the crest of the flood.
Then he felt himself being torn out of the car. The last sound he heard before he was sucked into a long dark drain-tunnel was Krista screaming, “Daddy, Daddy,” as she struggled to get away from those who held her. Gasping for air he was washed through the drain. Strong arms lifted him out of the whirling water at the end of the tunnel.
After long moments of frantic suspense, Krista and her father were together again, cut and bruised but somehow miraculously alive.
Safe in her father’s arms, Krista breathed with relief.
“We certainly had a quick answer to our special prayer, didn’t we?” Father asked.
Krista looked up at him and smiled. She couldn’t find the words to express her feeling of love and gratitude so she just nodded in full agreement.
Peter looked around the strange hospital room. This was the first night he had ever been away from his mother and father, and he was frightened even though the nurses had promised to stay close by. The doctor had been especially kind too as he explained what would happen during Peter’s operation the next morning.
The hospital was large, but it was very crowded. The only bed available for Peter was in a little room at the end of the men’s ward. All of those sick men were frightening to Peter. He pulled the bed sheet up around his chin and began to pray so he wouldn’t feel so afraid and alone.
After his prayer, there came into Peter’s mind a song he and his friends had sung in Sunday School that begins “Jesus loves me, this I know …”
Peter had always liked this song, but tonight the words seemed to hold a special meaning just for him. He sang them very softly at first but without realizing it his singing grew louder.
A nurse going by the door heard a small clear voice swell with the chorus of the familiar song. Peter’s sweet singing could be heard all through the men’s ward.
The men stopped their talking. They turned off their radios. They listened quietly. Tears ran down the cheeks of some of them as they heard the comforting assurance of a little boy, “Jesus loves me …”
When Peter finished singing, he snuggled down in his bed, turned over, and quickly went to sleep. His song-prayer had brought him the comfort he needed. He was no longer lonely or afraid.
Lealand and John were hot and tired. A large feedbox stood near the corral where they had been playing all morning and the boys climbed up on it to rest a few minutes. When they slid down to go back to their play, they decided to lift up the heavy lid and see what was inside.
The boys were fascinated when they saw some crickets hopping in a handful of feed in the bottom of the box.
“Let’s catch them,” one of the boys suggested.
The feedbox had been carefully lined with tin to keep out storm and moisture and was barely large enough for the two little boys to squeeze inside. But it didn’t take them long to slip off their shoes, put them side by side on the ground, and then help each other into the box.
Just at that moment a cow eating from a nearby trough, tossed her head and flipped the lid back over the box. A lock on the outside caught, and Lealand and John were prisoners!
Except for a thread-like crack where the lid fit over the top, the box was airtight. The boys tried to keep their noses as close to the crack as possible while they frantically called for help.
Not even a faint breeze stirred the hot air outside, and no one heard the cries for help. Every minute the box became more uncomfortable.
Then eight-year-old John said, “Oh, Lealand, let’s pray. No one else can hear us, but our Heavenly Father can.”
The boys took turns whispering desperate prayers. Afterward, in spite of the heat and lack of oxygen, they felt better.
A few minutes later Lealand’s four-year-old brother, Wesley, noticed the shoes on the ground outside the feedbox. He stopped and looked at them. Then he climbed up on his little wagon to see if the older boys were hiding from him inside the box. Somehow he managed to undo the lock.
John and Lealand were then able to push the lid all the way up. They were almost too weak to climb out, but when the fresh air rushed in, they felt a new surge of strength. Wet with perspiration, they got out of the box and staggered gratefully toward home.
The summer was almost over when one Saturday morning Dad said, “I know a fishing hole I think I’ll visit this afternoon. Do you boys have anything special planned for today?”
The boys’ eyes lighted up in happy anticipation, and right after lunch they all started for Willow Creek. When they reached the stream, Dad turned off the main gravel road onto a steep dirt one.
The road was narrow and full of curves but finally widened out along the creek bank. After Dad helped the boys untangle their lines and bait their fishhooks, he went a short distance downstream to find a good fishing hole.
James and Joseph didn’t notice the sun clouded over until a loud clap of thunder startled them. With a sudden wild gust of wind, heavy rain began to fall. They hurried back to the car, wet and frightened.
Dad opened the door, climbed inside, and said cheerfully, “Guess we better be starting for home.”
The downpour of rain had turned the dirt road into a sea of mud. Dad tried to plow through it but the wheels began to spin out of control. Each spin edged the car closer to the embankment.
The anxious moments ticked slowly by while they all thought of their comfortable home. Father suggested that the boys kneel on the seats of the car while they all prayed for help.
The rain continued to splatter the windows of the car until it seemed as if the car were on an isolated island. But soon above the noise of the pelting storm, they heard the roar of a motor and saw a four-wheel-drive jeep come into view.
The jeep pulled up alongside the stalled car, and a man jumped out. It was an answer to prayer when he called, “We knew someone needed help in this storm!”