The last colorful rays of the setting sun had faded into the western horizon, and the dark of the night was beginning to settle down over the desert. My father and I were finishing our evening meal and making plans for the night and the next day.
Father was a large, strong man with a kind heart, and he was happy to have his oldest son with him on this trip. We were going to drive 500 sheep we had just purchased to their new home on the other side of the 135 kilometer wide desert. In the desert there was little water, and the days would be hot and the nights cool. The plan was to drive the sheep in the cool of the night and allow them to rest during the heat of the day. We hoped that by doing this the sheep could go without water for three days. Arriving on the other side of the desert, they would be met by a wagon loaded with barrels of water for the thirsty sheep. Our own drinking water for the journey was carried in a 19 liter milk can in the back of our old car.
My father was a gentle and considerate man, and he said to me. “I’ll drive the sheep tonight while you sleep. After you awaken in the morning, eat your breakfast, gather up our camp gear, pack it in the car, and then drive down the trail until you reach me and the sheep.”
Everything went as planned. Father drove the sheep through the night into the desolate area. When I awakened the next morning, I ate a hurried breakfast and packed the car. As I drove the old car along the uncertain wagon trail in the desert, it was difficult to see signs of Father and the sheep, and their trail was especially hard to follow through some of the rocky areas. Still, everything went pretty well for the first few kilometers until there was a fork in the road. I wished Father were there to tell me which road to take. Finally, I decided to take the better road on the right. I drove along without incident for a few kilometers until I came to a deep washout. There the road faded out completely.
Without a map or road signs, fear gripped my heart. I am lost! I thought. What shall I do? Then I remembered the words of my Scout leader: “If you are lost, stop and wait. Then give some kind of a warning signal.”
I took the old rifle from the car and fired three quick shots into the air, praying that Father would hear; then I waited and prayed and waited some more.
After what seemed like such a long time, I saw Father in the distance, running toward me and waving his arms! It wasn’t long after that wonderful meeting until we were safely home with the sheep. How relieved and thankful I was for a father who cared and who could show me the right way to go.
I have taken many journeys since that one across the desert, some filled with hazards and important decisions. How grateful I am that we all have a real and loving Father, a Heavenly Father to whom we can call when there are two roads and no road signs to guide the way.