“There Is the Light”


John H. Groberg
(Adapted from an October 1976 general conference address. See Ensign, November 1976, pages 44–45.)

As a young missionary I was assigned as a district president over a group of fifteen small, scattered islands. On one occasion I received word that a missionary was very ill on a distant island. In spite of a bad storm, a companion and I sailed to the island, where we found that the missionary was indeed very ill. Fervent prayer was followed by administration, during which the impression came very strongly to get the missionary back to the hospital on the main island. The seas were heavy, the clouds were thick, the wind was fierce, the hour was late. But the impression was strong—“Get him back now!”

No sooner had we embarked on the turbulent sea than the intensity of the storm seemed to increase sevenfold. As we approached the reef surrounding the main island, the rain slashed at our faces and tore at our eyes—eyes vainly searching for the lifesaving light that marked the only entry through the reef to our home.

Suddenly I heard the chilling sound of waves crashing against the reef! It was too close. Where was the light? Unless we hit the opening exactly, we would be smashed against the reef.

Some passengers began to whimper; others moaned and cried. Many were pleading to turn to the left or to the right. I looked at the captain, and there I saw a face free of worry as his eyes penetrated the darkness ahead. His weather-roughened lips parted, and he declared, “There is the light!”

I still could not see it, but the captain’s experienced eyes were not fooled by the fury of the storm, nor was he influenced by the passengers’ pleadings.

Soon the reef was behind us, and we were in the protected harbor. Then and only then did we see through the darkness one small light—exactly where the captain had said it was. Had we waited until we could see the light, we would have been dashed to pieces. I thank the Lord for that wonderful Polynesian captain who saved my life and the life of the sick missionary I was charged with. I am grateful for his experience. I am grateful for his wisdom, for his eyes.

There are others who, through years of experience and training and by virtue of special divine callings, can see more clearly than we can. And they can save us in serious situations—spiritual and physical—that would be upon us before we ourselves could see the way. I thank the Lord for our great prophet-leaders of today.

[illustration] Illustrated by Larry Winborg