“The Light,” Friend, Jan. 2005, 5
“Is Dad coming home tonight?” Benjamin asked. Dad worked as a sailor off the coast near their home in Denmark.
“No,” Mom said, “he will be home in four days.”
Dad had promised Benjamin that they could play football when he returned. Benjamin missed Dad.
“Before I go to bed tonight, I’ll pray that he will come home safely,” Benjamin thought.
Benjamin’s dad stood on the ship in the freezing rain, hurrying to finish his work before the evening meal. Feeling tired and cold, he thought of his family back at home.
Suddenly, an enormous wave rocked the ship. Supplies clattered to the floor as sailors shouted in confusion. The captain peered out into the darkness and couldn’t see Benjamin’s dad on the deck anymore.
“Man overboard!” he shouted.
Later that evening Benjamin watched Mom pile the dinner dishes in the sink. As she scrubbed she looked out the window into the garden. Trees swayed in the fierce wind. Benjamin saw the worried look on his mother’s face and felt worried, too. Would Dad be all right out in this storm?
Benjamin’s dad could hear the ship’s alarm ringing, but the sound grew quieter as the strong waves pushed him farther away from the ship. Sailors tossed life preservers into the water, hoping to save him, but they could not see him in the stormy darkness.
He tried to stay calm and keep his head above water. He found the flashlight clipped to his life jacket and pointed it toward the ship so the sailors could see where he was—but the light didn’t work.
On board the ship, the captain radioed for help. Soon a helicopter hovered over the ocean, shining a spotlight down onto the huge waves.
“We can’t find him,” the helicopter pilot radioed to the captain. The captain fought back tears, fearing the worst for his friend. “But we’ll try again,” the pilot decided. He was afraid the helicopter would run out of fuel, but he knew he was the lost sailor’s last hope.
Benjamin’s dad was getting colder and colder. His teeth rattled as he clutched the broken flashlight in his numb fingers.
Back home it was Benjamin’s bedtime. Mom listened as, kneeling by his bed, he prayed, “Dear Heavenly Father, please protect Dad and bring him home safely to Mom and me.”
Benjamin’s dad saw a helicopter flying low. He tried to wave his arm, but he was so tired and cold he could hardly move it.
Then a voice in his mind said, “Turn on the light.”
“But it doesn’t work,” he thought.
“Turn on the light,” the voice said again.
“Why should I?” he mumbled as his stiff fingers fumbled with the switch. “Either the lightbulb is burned out or the batteries are dead.”
The helicopter came closer and closer. When it was almost directly overhead, Benjamin’s dad pointed the flashlight toward the sky and flipped the switch.
Just then the pilot saw a flicker of light in the water below. “We’ve found him!” he cried into the radio. The sailors aboard the ship cheered. Within minutes Benjamin’s dad was hoisted up into the warmth and safety of the helicopter. Wrapped in a blanket, he listened to the engine vibrate, imagining it singing, “Home to Benjamin, home to Benjamin!”
After the helicopter landed and an ambulance took Benjamin’s dad to the hospital, the helicopter pilot walked back to where Benjamin’s dad had been resting. There on the floor lay the flashlight. Curious, he picked it up and opened it. Two very old, rusty batteries fell out.
“These batteries can’t work,” he thought. “But if I didn’t see this light out on the ocean, what did I see?”
“God must have watched over this sailor,” he said out loud to his copilot, who was standing beside him. They both nodded in silence.
Benjamin’s mom suddenly felt happy. The worried feeling went away.
Opening Benjamin’s door a crack, she peeked into his room and saw that he was sleeping soundly. Benjamin lay dreaming about the football game Dad had promised him. A warm feeling had assured him that Heavenly Father would answer his prayer and that Dad would be home soon.
“Miracles—impossible to explain by rational means—occur as a result of obedience to the commandments of God.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Miracles,” Ensign, June 2001, 9.