Swish-swish!” went the rain. “Boom-boom!” crashed the thunder. And all round the car the wind whistled and moaned. Rudy crouched down in the back seat. “Is it much farther to Grandmother’s?” he asked.
Daddy, who was driving very slowly, answered, “I don’t think so, but I’m not certain just where we are.”
Rudy blinked as he tried to see out into the rainy darkness. “Can’t you see by the headlights?” he asked.
“Not in this downpour!” exclaimed Mother, wiping the windshield in front of her with her handkerchief. “I can’t even see the ditches.”
“I can see them all right.” Daddy shifted gears cautiously. “I’m just hoping we don’t slide into one.”
“Me, too,” added Rudy. How he wished he was safe inside Grandmother’s warm kitchen.
Rudy and his parents lived in the United States, but they had come to England to surprise his grandmother with a visit. At the airport they had rented a car to drive into the country to Grandmother’s house, but they hadn’t counted on the rainstorm that was almost making them lose their way.
Thinking about his grandmother made Rudy hungry. “Wouldn’t a big bowl of Grandmother’s potato soup taste good!” he exclaimed.
“It certainly would,” Mother agreed, but an extra-loud crash of thunder muffled her words.
The thunder was followed by a brilliant flash of lightening that made Rudy duck his head. What happened next neither Daddy, Mother, nor Rudy knew exactly. Rudy didn’t feel the car turn, but when he looked up he could see the fence posts right up against the front headlights.
“Daddy, is there a fence in the middle of the road?” Rudy cried.
“No,” said Daddy, rolling down a window. “We skidded. The car is sitting crosswise in the road.”
“Can you turn around?” asked Mother.
“I can try,” answered Daddy. He began backing up, but the car wheels spun in the soft mud, round and round. The car rocked back and forth for a while, then the engine stopped.
“It’s no use,” said Daddy. “We’re on high center. The wheels have sunk down to the axles in the mud. We’ll have to walk the rest of the way to Grandmother’s.”
Rudy looked into the rainy blackness and swallowed hard. “How can we see to walk?” he managed to ask.
“I have the flashlight,” said Daddy. “We can follow the road. I don’t think it’s much farther.”
Rudy buttoned his coat and stepped out of the car into the rain and mud. Daddy took his left hand and Mother took his right.
“Just follow me,” said Daddy, “and keep your head down. That way the rain won’t beat into your face.”
For a while Rudy kept his head down, but soon he looked up to see where they were walking. In the beam of the flashlight he could see an open field.
Puzzled, he stopped. “Daddy!” he cried suddenly. “There’s no field near Grandmother’s house, is there?”
Daddy stopped walking too. “No, son, there isn’t,” he said in a tired voice. “We’ve missed the road some way.”
For a moment Rudy stood listening to the storm around him and his parents. Then he asked, “Daddy, don’t you think we should pray? Maybe Jesus will help us get to Grandmother’s house.”
“Yes, I think He will.” Daddy turned off the flashlight and put it in his coat pocket so that he could fold his hands.
Then he began his prayer. “Jesus, my family and I are lost. Without Your help, we will never be able to reach my mother’s house tonight. Please allow Your lamp to guide us.”
Soon after Daddy had finished his prayer the rain slowed to a heavy mist and the wind died.
“We can see better now,” said Daddy, “and the rain won’t beat in our faces so badly.”
Rudy found he could walk better, too, without having to hold his head down. He tried to see through the darkness beyond the beam of Daddy’s flashlight, and presently he saw an orange-colored glare.
“Daddy, I see a light!” Rudy cried happily.
“I see it, too,” said Mother. “I think it is a light from a window, but it looks a little strange.”
Daddy was laughing at Mother’s bewilderment. “It’s Grandmother’s kerosene lamp,” he explained. “She always turns the electricity off during a storm, but it is odd that we can see the lamp so plainly.”
Everyone walked faster now, and in a few minutes they were happily inside Grandmother’s warm kitchen. The first thing Rudy saw after he had greeted his grandmother was the kerosene lamp sitting on a chair by the window.
“We saw your lamp, Grandmother!” he told her excitedly.
His grandmother looked at the lamp and shook her head in a puzzled way. “It is strange,” she said, “but about ten minutes ago I was sitting here reading when all of a sudden I had a feeling that maybe someone needed to see my lamp. So I moved it from the table and put it on that chair by the window.”
Daddy and Mother and Rudy looked at one another. Then Daddy smiled. “That must have been about the time we were praying.”
“And you asked Jesus to be our lamp to guide us to Grandmother’s house,” Rudy added, remembering every word of Daddy’s prayer.
There were happy tears in Grandmother’s eyes as she listened, and she repeated a verse from the Psalms, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).
Grandmother looked at Daddy and added softly, “Jesus heard your prayer and told me to move my lamp.”
“He certainly did,” agreed Daddy, “so let’s all thank Him right now.”
What a happy moment it was as everyone knelt to thank Jesus for the kerosene lamp in the window that had brought the family safely out of the storm.
Heaven, Please! Helena Welch, 48–53.