Emily pulled her shawl snugly around her shoulders, picked up the basket beside the door, and hollered for her little sister.
“Ruth, hurry up! We have to finish before dark!” Honestly, that sister of hers could take the longest time to do anything!
Ruth ran from the bedroom and joined her sister.
“Where’s your shawl?”
“We won’t be gone long,” Ruth answered.
Emily sighed. Her sister never worried about anything, which meant it was her job to worry about everything!
“Come on, we’ve got a long walk to that patch of maple trees up the river.”
It was time to gather the bark for dying the yarn and there was no time to waste. Night would be here soon, and that brought more things to worry about.
Together the girls set out on their journey. Ruth chattered about a story she’d been telling her baby doll, but Emily only half-listened. The wind was beginning to pick up, and she didn’t like the look of the clouds on the horizon.
By the time the girls had reached the maple trees, the wind was blowing steadily against their long full skirts. They pulled the bark away from the trees, exposing the layers underneath.
Suddenly, the wind gusted and snatched the bark out of the basket!
Quickly, they gathered more.
No sooner had they left the maple trees than the rain began! The dark clouds blocked the fading sunlight and turned the evening into night.
“Come on,” Emily said, “we’ve got to get home!”
But the rain pounded harder, splashing their faces and drenching their hair. Emily felt her long heavy skirt grow even heavier. Her shawl did her little good as it was now soaking wet.
“Emily, I’m scared!” Ruth said, grabbing hold of Emily’s hand.
Emily wanted to cry. She was scared, too. The rain beat twigs and fruit from the trees, sending them showering down on them from every side. Emily had never felt so alone and helpless, exposed to the elements without shelter.
Ruth started to cry. Emily tried to think of something that would help. She whispered a prayer as she struggled to move forward as the wind whipped against her skirt.
“Ruth, remember the story you were telling your baby doll? Didn’t you tell me you were singing her a song?”
“Sing it for me, please.”
“I don’t want to sing in the rain! I want to go home!”
“I’m trying to find someplace safe for us to stay until we can get home, but being scared won’t make it stop raining. We might as well sing. You start and I’ll join you.”
Reluctantly, Ruth started to sing the words to a Psalm. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Emily prayed, “God, please help Ruth and I find a refuge, someplace safe to stay.” She sang along with her sister, but in her heart, she was still very worried. Could God even see the girls through all the rain and through all the thick trees?
Just then, she spotted something up ahead. Was it a cave?
They inched their way closer. It was a cave!
A question shot through Emily’s mind. What if there was a bear inside?
Emily looked all around for signs that something might be inside. Seeing nothing, she led her sister inside the cave. It was going to be a long night, but at least they were out of the rain.
She leaned her back against the cave wall. Her tired legs refused to hold her any longer, and she sank to the cold ground. Ruth climbed into her lap and leaned back against her sister. Emily wrapped her arms around her sister and held her as she fell asleep. She really did love her—even if she could get annoying sometimes.
The words to Ruth’s song came back to her. “God is our refuge and strength…” Just like she had wrapped her sister up in her arms, she knew God had used this cave to wrap them up in His arms tonight.
No matter how thick the trees were or how dark the night was, God could always see everything. Nothing was hidden to him. Maybe it was time for her to start another long walk—a walk away from worrying about everything and toward trusting the God who loved her.
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