Years come and years go…lessons I remember most were taught to me through stories told by my father. This is a short story based on a real life experience from my own childhood.
One starry night a little girl sat perched expectantly on a seat in the bow of a skiff. Suddenly, the tiny craft tipped precariously pitching toward the dock. Caught off guard Sally grabbed both gunwales and half turning in her seat she frantically glanced behind her in the direction of her father. She watched him nimbly finish stepping into the boat. Startled, Sally realized her father’s eyes were peering in her direction. He murmured, “We’re okay honey.”
Moments later her father settled himself straddling the stern seat. Deftly, he made a few quick tugs on the outboard engine’s manual start handle. Seconds after the little engine roared to life her father slowly turned the boat pointing the bow lights toward the center of the lake. Exhilarated, Sally closed her eyes tilting her head back breathing in deep gulps of night air. She shook her head relishing the invigorating crisp breezy air swirling her hair and stinging her cheeks.
For several minutes the small craft glided effortlessly over the glass smooth high mountain lake. Shimmering sparkles of reflected light danced across the lake. Suddenly, the engine sputtered and was silent. Slowly, their boat drifted to a stop. Sally continued to stare at the lake glittering in the moonlight. Millions of stars twinkled overhead. She could see the outline of the ponderosa pine trees on the shore line their silhouettes reflecting eerily off the lake. She felt like she was in the center of the earth completely surrounded by a starry night.
“Incredible isn’t it?” Her father said softly.
“Yes, whispered Sally, I’ve never seen anything so beautiful…and it’s so quiet.”
Her father began to hum a familiar tune. Sally asked, “What’s the name of that song?”
“How Great Thou Art” it’s my favorite song. Her father began to sing softly, “Oh, Lord My God when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds thy hands hath made…”
Several minutes later he finished singing and Sally clapped, “that was beautiful.”
“Why thank you, he responded. Sally… what do you think about when you see the stars?”
Sally sat staring at the sky straining her brain for some brilliant thought…shrugging her shoulders she said self-consciously, “You mean about God?”
Her father chuckled, “It can be about God…I am interested in what you are thinking.”
A long silent pause followed…her father continued; would you like to know what I’m thinking?”
“Well, when I look at the stars I think about Abraham. You see Abraham was very sad because he and his wife didn’t have a little boy of their own. And…you know what God did?
“He gave them a son.”
“Yes… but before He did that, He told Abraham to look at the heavens like we are right now. Then God told Abraham to count the stars. How many stars do you think there are Sally?”
“Uuummm hundreds maybe even thousands…”
Her father laughed and said, “Much more, perhaps millions and millions only God knows for sure. Sally, God made each star and in fact I believe He knows each star by name. God promised Abraham that we would not only have a son but that one day his descendants would be as many as the stars. Now, what do you think about that?”
“Wow, that’s a lot of kids…”
“Yes, that is a lot of kids…but Abraham believed what God told him. Because Abraham believed God, the Bible says He counted it as righteous. Even though Abraham didn’t understand everything, he believed God.”
Sally turned around in her seat careful to stay in the center of her seat so she wouldn’t rock the boat. Facing her father she asked. “Why do you tell me these stories all the time…I mean about God?”
“I am very glad you asked Sally. As your father I am responsible for your physical welfare and I am also responsible for teaching you about God.”
“Because Sally I am with you now, but someday I will die and if I have done my job you will continue to look to God for direction in life. You see God says train up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Yes, years come and go…and now, I tell the stories.
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