Holding Jesus’ Hand
Hal went strolling in the big forest that was near his home. He did not intend to go far, for he was eight years old, and one could get lost among so many trees. He went slowly along, but always there was something interesting just ahead. Some pretty violets, or the ridge made by the curious little mole that could dig with the end of its nose. There is always plenty to see in a Michigan forest.
Hal wandered this way and that, and after a while he came to a clearing. The trees had been cut down and hauled away to the lumber mills. Hal followed the dim little path, which led among the great, wide stumps of trees, some of them as wide as a table. Everywhere bushes and blackberry vines covered the ground, while the big stumps had great thick roots reaching out from all sides. Hal wandered along looking—here would be a good place for tiny quail and rabbits.
Suddenly, there was a rumble and a cracking of thunder! It seemed to come right out of the forest. Hal looked up quickly. Black clouds were rolling over the tall treetops. They soon covered the sky, and out of them came fiery streaks of lightning and great crashes of thunder, while a fierce wind began tearing through the trees.
What could he do? Where could he go for shelter? Hal knew better than to run toward the forest. Once he had seen great trees come crashing down in a strong wind; he did not want a tree to fall on him. And now the rain began to fall. Great drops—it seemed there was a teaspoonful to each drop—hammered on the stumps and bushes, and on Hal’s uncovered head.
Hal was frightened. All around him the bushes were thrashing about in the wind, and the water was coming down so fast. Like a scared rabbit he darted over to a big stump and crept in close against the rough bark and the great, friendly roots. My, how the lighting flashed, how the thunder crashed, and how the raindrops splashed! Hal was soon drenched to the skin. But he didn’t mind the wet; he would change when he got home.
Home! Why, there wouldn’t be any path to go home by now; the rain would wash away every little trace of a path! Hal tried to look at the trees to see if he could tell where he had come out into the clearing. But the rain pelted him so hard he could not see anything. Then he was scared; he snuggled closer to the rough stump and covered his face with his hands. There he prayed; prayed that Jesus would help him and show him the way home when the storm was over.
After a while the storm grew less fierce, the bushes ceased to thrash about, the lightning became less vivid, the thunder sounded farther off, and the rain became a thin mist. Soon the sun shone through the broken clouds, and how the wet leaves and bushes did sparkle!
Hal rose from beside the stump. Which way out of the clearing? “I don’t know which way to go,” he thought, “so I will walk along just as though Jesus were holding my hand. I will go the way I believe He would lead me, if He were taking me home.”
He passed through the clearing to the forest’s edge. There was no path in the forest, just wet leaves; slowly Hal walked along, making a turn here and there. He was not afraid, he was holding hands with Jesus.
After a bit he made a turn, and there he saw familiar things. Now he knew the way. The Lord had held his hand and guided him home.