The Song of the Righteous

By Elaine Fronk Whiteley

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    “Yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me” (D&C 25:12).

    Six-year-old Jason rode down the street on his new red bicycle. It was the first time he had ridden his bike without his eleven-year-old brother, Ray, riding along beside him. Jason grinned as he thought about his big brother. Ray was fun to be with. He would often take Jason along with him when he went to the park or to the baseball field. But now Ray had gone to the store for Mother, so Jason was riding by himself.

    “Aaaah,” he called as he pedaled past his mother.

    She smiled and waved at him. Jason didn’t dare let go of the handlebars to wave back, but he gave her a big smile. When he turned around and pedaled back to his house again, his mother motioned for him to stop. Born with a profound hearing loss, Jason wore a hearing aid in each ear. The only sounds that he could hear were very soft and unclear, so Jason had only begun to learn to talk.

    “Jason,” Mother said, at the same time using sign language, “I’m going into the house to do dishes now. It will soon be dark. Please come inside in just a few minutes.”

    “OK.” Jason tried to form the word with his mouth as he finger-spelled.

    Mom smiled and rumpled his hair before she walked into the house, and Jason pedaled his bike down the street again. It was exciting riding past the houses, with a rush of the wind against his face. Jason wished he could go farther than the corner. It would be neat to ride around the block. The thrill of such an adventure filled his mind. He decided to go partway around, then come straight back. But as Jason pedaled faster and faster, pretending that he was a fireman racing his truck to a fire, he sped down several blocks. “Aaaah!” he crowed happily.

    Then the cry froze in his throat as he stared at the unfamiliar houses that he was passing. The bicycle wobbled and nearly fell over before Jason could come to a stop. He looked around him with wide, frightened eyes. Where am I? he wondered.

    Jason turned his bicycle around and pedaled back toward the nearest corner. He peered at the houses in the gathering darkness. They were all strange. Jason choked back a sob. How would he ever get back to his own home? He couldn’t ask anyone for help. He pedaled up and down the streets looking for a familiar sight, but the longer he searched, the more confused he became.

    Soon it was dark, and Jason didn’t know what to do. Suddenly there came to his mind a picture of his family kneeling in prayer, and he thought, I’ll ask Heavenly Father to help me!

    Jason got off his bike and lowered the kickstand, then knelt on the sidewalk and folded his arms. Dear Father in Heaven, he prayed silently, I’m lost. Please help me. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

    Jason opened his eyes, half-expecting to see a familiar face, but no one was there. He could see lights shining through the windows of nearby houses. He thought about his family in his own home and about how much he loved them. Maybe I’ll never see them again. Tears trickled down his cheeks at the thought. Then the words I am a child of God popped into his mind. They were from a Primary song that his mother had taught him.

    “You can learn to say the words if you try,” she had said as she signed to him. “Then you can sing it with your voice, your hands, and your heart.”

    Jason had tried. It was hard, but he could sing it well enough for his family to recognize it. Now he loved to sing it often, even though he could barely hear the sounds that he made. He knew that there was beautiful music inside him, though, because he had such a happy feeling when he sang.

    Maybe, Jason thought, I won’t feel so scared if I sing. He squeezed his eyes shut against his tears and began, “I am a child of God,/ And he has sent me here,/ Has given me an earthly home/ With parents kind and dear. …”

    As he sang the last few words, Jason opened his eyes. He could scarcely believe what he saw: His big brother was coming down the street!

    “Aaaah!” Jason cried, leaping to his feet. “Aaaah!”

    Jason started to run. He didn’t stop until he ran straight into his brother’s open arms. Ray caught him in a big bear hug, swinging him off his feet.

    “I’d never have found you if I hadn’t heard you singing that song!” Ray exclaimed. “You’ve sung it so many times at home that when I heard that off-tune hymn coming to me out of the darkness, I knew just who was singing. It led me straight to you!”

    Jason couldn’t follow all that Ray was saying, but he knew that he was safe, and he knew that Heavenly Father had answered his prayer.

    Illustrated by Diane Pierce