It was a beautiful afternoon. The sun beamed down, hindered only by the occasional cloud. With a slight breeze, the weather was neither too hot nor too cold. Birds could be heard chirping while butterflies spiraled through the air. If ever there was a day to take a walk through the nearby woods, it was today. Which is why nine-year-old Katy impatiently stood by the door, wondering if her older brother would ever come out of his room. Finally, she spotted her sixteen-year-old brother walking down the hallway.
“Come on, Kevin! I’ve been waiting forever!”
“I haven’t taken that long.”
“Yes, you have. I thought you were never going to come out!”
“Well, I’m here now. Do you want to keep arguing or do you want to take a walk?” he said with a smile.
“Let’s go! Let’s go!” Katy replied enthusiastically, whisking out the door.
“Hey wait for me,” Kevin called, then turned to his mother who was in the kitchen. “We’re heading out now, Mom.”
“Alright. Remember to stay on the path. And be sure you’re back before supper.”
“I will. Goodbye!”
Soon they were on the path that led into the nearby forest. Katy skipped along, chattering as she went.
“Isn’t it so pretty? Look, the leaves are beginning to change turn orange! I wonder why they don’t turn blue.”
Kevin laughed. “Because God didn’t make them that way. But here’s something that is blue.” He bent down to observe a cluster of bright azure flowers.
“Aww, they’re so pretty,” Katy said. “What kind are they?”
“Don’t ask me, I don’t know flowers. Why don’t we take a couple home? Mom might know.”
Carefully Katy plucked a couple of the flowers and placed them in her dress pocket.
“Uh, why don’t I take them. They’re liable to be squashed in a few seconds with the way you’ve been hopping around,” said Kevin.
Katy handed him the flowers, then ran off to chase a squirrel she spotted. The bushy-tailed creature took one look at the oncoming child, then quickly darted up a nearby tree.
“Katy! Mom said not to leave the path.”
“But can we go over there? I see lots of pretty flowers.”
Kevin looked to where his sister was pointing. Not too far away lay a small clearing in the forest. Flowers of many colors were spread throughout the grass.
“I guess we can. But stay with me.”
They walked to the clearing, and Katy immediately began picking a bouquet, showing her brother every flower she found. Kevin lay down in the tall grass, enjoying the warmth of the sun as it hit his face. Once Katy had enough flowers, she grabbed Kevin’s hand and tried to pull him up.
“Come on, let’s keep going on our walk.”
“Goodness,” he replied while standing to his feet and brushing the grass out of his hair. “You must have picked the whole forest.”
Katy giggled. “I can’t wait to show Mom! Which way is the path?
Kevin took a look around, then dread grew inside him. While the large clearing was easy to see from the path, it was quite another matter to spot the winding path from the clearing.
“Umm... I think it’s this way.”
Kevin led his little sister, who had complete confidence in him. However, after five minutes of walking, they did not come across the path. He decided the best option would be to go back to the clearing. But which way was that? The trees had a dizzying effect on him; every direction looked the same.
“I think we’re lost,” he finally stated.
“Lost?” gasped Katy. “But I want to go home! I’m hungry and Mom said we need to be back by supper time.”
“Well, let’s keep walking and hope we’re going the right way.”
On they went, trudging through the undergrowth. Sunlight was beginning to wane, and Kevin had to muster all his strength to keep calm. Katy was on the brink of crying, and he didn’t want to set her off.
“Let’s rest,” Kevin said. “I think the best thing to do is just wait now. The more we walk, the further we get lost.”
Together they leaned against a tree. Kevin wrapped an arm around Katy who nestled up to him.
“Are we going to be stuck in the woods forever?”
“Don’t worry. It’s long past supper time and I’m sure there are people looking for us. Problem is it’s a large forest and they don’t know where we stepped off the path. Oh, I never should have let you go to that clearing!”
“I’m sorry, Kevin. I shouldn’t have asked to go off the path.”
Kevin smiled down at her, instantly regretting his harsh tone. “Now don’t worry. God is in control. The Bible tells us hundreds of times not to fear and that’s what we need to do. Our parents will find us, you’ll see.”
“I hope so. It’s starting to get dark and cold.”
Suddenly, out in the forest, a twig snapped.
“What was that?” Katy asked, clinging close to her brother. “A wolf? A bear? A tiger? Is it going to eat us?”
At that moment a squirrel appeared in front of them, its cheeks stuffed with nuts. It scurried up a nearby tree and disappeared into the leaves.
“See, it was just a squirrel. There are no wolves or bears in this forest. Certainly not tigers. What did I just say about not fearing?”
“But it’s hard not to.”
“Do you know any Bible verses about not being afraid? That might help. I know one:
‘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.’”
“I have one too!
‘Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.’”
They continued bringing up verses until night came. There was still no sign of rescuers. It was getting colder by the minute, and Katy was pressed up tight against Kevin to stay warm. Why, oh why, had he left the path? Now he and his little sister were stuck in the woods at night, with no food or warm clothes. He began praying like never before.
Please God! I need your help! Protect us this night; and help me to stay brave for Katy. Help me to know what to do.
“Look at all the stars,” Katy said with astonishment.
Kevin looked up at the night sky. Stars glittered like jewels.
“They are very pretty, aren’t they?”
“They’re beautiful! Look at that bright one over there.”
“Dad told me that one is the north star. Follow it, and you’ll always go north... THAT’S IT! Thank you, Lord!”
Quickly Kevin jumped up and helped his confused sister to her feet.
“Why are you so happy? Do you know how to get home now?”
“Yes! We’ll follow the star. The path we were on goes north. Do you remember the stream it crosses?”
“Yes, it has that nice bridge.”
“Yep! If we had continued a little further we would’ve come across it. The stream travels west and east. If we keep going north, we should run into the stream. Then we can follow it to the bridge and the path!”
Together, they walked as fast as they dared through the dark forest. They had to be careful not to trip over tree roots while trying to keep the north star in view through the trees. After a few minutes, Kevin began to question himself. Was he positive that it was the north star he had seen? What if he was mistaken and he was leading them further into the forest? Then he heard it: the soft sound of water.
“I hear water!” both children said simultaneously. Katy began to quicken her gait, then was suddenly pulled back by Kevin. She was so excited, she hadn’t noticed that the stream was right in front of her and had almost fallen in.
“We found it! We found it!” she cried.
“Yes, now we follow it east and it should bring us to the path!”
Following the stream, they continued their trek. Kevin’s knees were badly scraped from the many times he had fallen and tripped, but he didn’t care. Soon they would be home!
“I see a light!” cried Katy.
Now running, they made their way to the light. A lamp had been tied to the bridge, and the path was now clearly visible.
“Let’s go home, Katy!” Kevin said as they both began to run.
It wasn’t long before they heard people shouting their names. Up ahead they could see several men with lights scouring the woods around the path.
“I see Dad! Dad! Dad! I’m here!” Katy ran into the arms of one of the men, who scooped her up and hugged her tightly. Kevin soon joined the hug, tears running down his face. They were safe.
“Thank you, God,” he whispered. “Thank you for protecting us.”
Psalm 56:3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
Never forget that, if you’re a child of God, He is with you and will protect you. Trust His arm of protection, for He will keep you safe!