“Just one more story,” Beth pleaded.
“One more?” Dad closed the picture book he had just finished reading and laughed.
“I can’t go to sleep yet. I’m not a bit tired.” Beth hated to go to bed—especially since her older sister had moved into the newly finished basement bedroom, leaving Beth alone in the room upstairs. Before, Beth hadn’t really noticed the shadowy figures and whispering noises of the night.
“Hmmm …” Dad stroked his chin. “Sometimes when I can’t sleep at night, it’s because something is bothering me. When that happens, I can always find something in the scriptures that helps me or comforts me.” He reached over to Beth’s nightstand and picked up a worn set of scriptures that used to belong to her mother. “Is anything bothering you, sweetie?”
“Not exactly.” Beth didn’t want to admit that she was scared.
Dad nodded understandingly. “It’s kind of lonely in here, isn’t it? And dark.” He flipped through the pages of the New Testament. “I think that we might just find something in here to help you feel better. Let’s see. …”
After finding the passage he wanted, he stretched his long legs and smiled at Beth. “In the scriptures, it says that Heavenly Father knows everything about each one of us, even how many hairs we have. In Luke 12:7, Jesus tells us, ‘But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore.’”
“Wow!” Beth’s eyes opened wide.
Dad gently touched the tip of Beth’s nose. “And, because He knows you so well, He loves you very, very much.” He thumbed through the pages again. “Here’s another scripture that was written a very long time ago but still sounds as if it’s talking just to you. This one is in the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy 31:6. ‘Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’” [Deut. 31:6]
“What does forsake mean?”
“It means that He will never leave you alone. He will always watch out for you and take care of you and do whatever He knows is best for you. You are tremendously important to Heavenly Father. Let’s go back to the first scripture that we read. Let me start with verse six: ‘Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
“‘But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.’”
Beth was puzzled. “How can Heavenly Father know about and take care of all the little animals and birds and us too?”
“I don’t know, but I know that He does. I remember reading a story several months ago in the Ensign. It was a true story about a little sparrow that flew into the Tabernacle while the doors were open.”*
“You mean that big building on Temple Square where they hold general conference?”
Dad nodded. “The workers at the Tabernacle opened all the doors, hoping that the bird would fly out.”
“No. They tried calling animal control, who brought some nets with real long handles so that they could try to catch the bird.”
Beth remembered how tall the ceiling in the Tabernacle was. Her mother and father had taken her there for a Christmas program last December. The handles on those nets must have been very, very, very long!
Dad continued. “The people ran from one end of the Tabernacle to the other, trying to catch the bird, but that just frightened the poor thing. Terrified, it flew back and forth from the pipe organ to the balcony. The people who worked in the Tabernacle were getting worried because there was an important concert scheduled for that evening and they were running out of time. They had to get the bird out.”
“What did they do?” Beth whispered.
“The animal control people couldn’t think of anything else, so they suggested that they use a pellet gun to shoot the bird.”
“Or they thought they could put out some poisoned food that the bird would eat.”
“Oh, Daddy, they didn’t, did they?”
“Well,” Dad continued, “Brother John, the manager, wouldn’t let them hurt the bird. He thought about how important this little bird was to Heavenly Father and knew that Heavenly Father would know how to take care of the bird. So he turned around and said a quiet, simple prayer. Right away the Holy Ghost helped Brother John know what to do. He quickly gave instructions to the other workers to turn off all the lights; close the blinds, and close all but one of the doors. Soon light poured through that one single door, and the bird was finally able to find its freedom. Out it flew, safe at last.”
“I’m glad Heavenly Father helped the bird.”
Dad leaned over to kiss her on the cheek. “He’s always there to help you, too, sweetie. All you need to do is ask. Promise me that you’ll always remember that.”
“I promise.” Beth smiled and snuggled down farther in her bed.