“Stop the Boat!” Friend, Aug. 2005, 4
Derek snapped on his life preserver and pulled out his sunglasses as the boat sped up. He liked to feel the wind whip through his hair as the boat made ripples in the calm lake. The afternoon looked perfect for a fishing trip. The sun shone brightly, and the smooth water reflected the trees standing along the shore.
Dad had invited Brother Taylor and his two children, Hannah and Jake, to come along, too. Dad had asked 11-year-old Derek to help look after the children since they were only six and four. All afternoon, Brother Taylor helped Hannah and Jake hold tiny fishing poles while Derek and Dad baited their hooks. Derek had fun, even though he didn’t catch any fish himself.
When the sun rolled behind a cloud, Dad looked up at the sky and pressed his lips together in thought. “We don’t have much sunlight left,” he said.
“Good,” Brother Taylor replied. “The fishing’s better when it starts to get dark.”
“The fishing’s better, but driving the boat isn’t,” Dad said. “The lake can be dangerous in the dark. We should stay for only a few more minutes.”
The lake looked peaceful and still as the sky grew darker. Soon, the fish began to bite. After Jake and Brother Taylor had each caught a fish, Dad started the engine.
“Time to go,” he said.
Derek found a huge red towel and wrapped it around Hannah and Jake like a blanket. The air felt crisp now that the sun had melted into the mountaintops.
Dad slowly steered the boat back to the shore as the darkness grew. The boat had two little lights at the front, but they weren’t very bright. “I wonder if Dad can see anything at all,” Derek thought. He didn’t like being out on the lake in the dark. The lapping of the water against the boat sounded creepy, and the air felt cold now. He wished they would go faster.
Suddenly, Dad pulled back on the throttle and the boat drifted to a stop.
“Why are we stopping?” Derek asked.
Dad didn’t respond. He pulled a flashlight out of the glove box and shined it in front of the boat. Directly ahead of them, Derek saw a rock sticking up out of the water. Dad slowly turned the boat and drove around it.
Derek held his breath. They had almost crashed into that rock!
When they reached the dock, Dad patted Derek’s knee.
“That was close,” Derek whispered.
Dad nodded. “I saw that rock this afternoon, but I didn’t think much about it,” he said. “In the light, I could have seen it from far away, but I couldn’t see it at all in the dark. All of a sudden, something inside told me to stop the boat. I didn’t see the rock until after we had stopped. If I had waited until I saw it, it would have been too late.”
Derek’s eyes widened.
“Thankfully, the Holy Ghost could see what I could not.” Dad smiled. “He was looking out for us, and I am glad I listened to Him.”
Derek felt glad, too. A warm feeling rushed through him. He felt safe and calm knowing that Dad had listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Derek knew that if he, too, listened for the still, small voice, he would know what to do—even when he couldn’t see the way.