A Light in the Dark


Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered (Joel 2:32).

My mother makes the best homemade bread in the whole world. One afternoon our neighbor sat in our kitchen and declared that she would pay ten dollars just for a slice of Mom’s yummy bread. Mom just laughed, but I could tell that she was flattered. That night, while we were doing the dishes, she seemed really concerned about something. Since Dad had been in the hospital, I’d noticed that she’d been worried not just about Dad but about “making ends meet,” as she put it.

Finally I asked, “Mom, what are you thinking about?”

She smiled, hesitated, then said, “Jenney, I couldn’t help thinking about what Mrs. Clark said. Do you think my bread is that good?”

“Sure, Mom, all the kids in the neighborhood love your bread and rolls—especially your cinnamon rolls.”

Well, that’s how I got the job of delivering bread and rolls for my mom. She got a permit from the city and began a bakery in our kitchen to earn some money. Every day after school I delivered her bread and rolls all over town. I got paid for doing it, and that was great, but sometimes I got tired of it and wished I hadn’t praised her bread so much. After a few weeks, I started playing or watching TV and leaving a little later each day. That was until after one day last week.

“Jenney, honey, please hurry. This order is for Brother and Sister Dean, and they live kind of far away. Turn off the TV and get your coat and mittens on.”

“OK, Mom,” I said reluctantly and got ready to go.

At the door, Mom stood looking at the sky. “Hurry, Jenney. Please don’t dawdle. It looks like another storm is brewing.”

“Don’t worry, Mom. I’ll be all right.” I waved good-bye and started down the street. The air was very still and quiet. It wasn’t very cold, either. I walked along for a while, and then snowflakes started dancing around me. Suddenly it got very dark. At first I loved it. The snowflakes got bigger and bigger. They were beautiful as they came straight down, as though they were in a hurry to get to the ground. Like I should be about getting this bread delivered, I thought.

The Deans lived on a dairy farm. I decided to leave the road and take a shortcut through the fields to their house. The snowflakes started swirling around. They were huge by now and seemed to move up and away from me and then back toward me again. I laughed and started to dance with them—around and around, curtsy left, swing right.

When I stopped to catch my breath, I noticed that my feet felt really cold. I looked around me. All I could see was the black night and white swirling snow. The wind picked up, and the snow was no longer gentle and friendly. It started whipping at my hat and coat. My face and nose were numb and cold. I decided to walk fast—only I didn’t know which way to walk! I strained my eyes looking into the night. I couldn’t decide which way to go. Suddenly I felt panicky. I stood very still in that spot and cried for a while, then wandered around till I seemed to hear a gentle voice say, “Pray, Jenney. Stop here and pray.”

I stopped walking and knelt in the snow. I sobbed as I prayed to Heavenly Father for help. After a few moments I felt a sweet calm come over me, and someone seemed to say, “Jenney, look up.”

I looked up, and through the darkness I saw a light flicker on. I couldn’t tell whose light it was, but there it was, shining through the dark, snowy night. I got up quickly and headed for the light. In just a few minutes I could dimly make out Brother Dean’s farm buildings. I stumbled gratefully to the barn door and called, “Brother Dean, are you there?”

Out he came, swinging his lantern. “Why, Jenney, child, what are you doing out here on a night like this?”

I held out the bread and started to sob. He didn’t say a word but put his arm around me and steered me toward the house. While he called my mom, Sister Dean had me put on some dry clothes, then brought me some hot chocolate and warm cookies. Sitting by their nice fire, I told them about how I had been lost and scared. I told them about how I had prayed and then seen the barn light. Mr. Dean smiled and slowly nodded his head, as though he already knew my story.

“Jenney,” he said, “I had finished my chores and had my dinner. I had even put on my slippers and curled up by the fire with my newspaper. I’d no sooner started reading than I had the thought to go to the barn. I brushed it off. I’d come in from the barn not a half hour before, and my cows were OK. Well, I tried to start reading again, but the thought just wouldn’t go away. So I got my tired bones up, lighted my lantern, and went to the barn. It was the strangest thing, because everything seemed to be just fine. So I said to myself, Dean, you’re getting old. Maybe you ought to sell this place and just sit in your rocking chair. Just as I was fixing to come back in, there you were, at the door, as scared as a treed cat and dripping wet. Yep, I’m sure glad I listened to that voice.” He smiled at me, adding, “Jenney, do you know whose voice it was that told me to come to the barn?”

“Yes, Brother Dean.”

I couldn’t explain where the voice came from, but I knew whose it was. My parents and my Primary teachers had taught me about the Holy Ghost. And tonight I knew that Heavenly Father had turned that light on just for me.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Scott Greer