The Faith of a Prayer
When we were raising our family, my wife Irene and I set a goal of going camping once a month as soon as the weather would permit. In Star Valley, Wyoming most people would agree that June would be the start of camping weather. We chose April. I would have chosen March, but I couldn’t talk Irene into shoveling snow to make a place to set up a tent. I would have done all the shoveling, but it was a definite “I don’t think so Honey”. April wasn’t a whole lot better, but at least there were bare patches of ground here and there.
We loaded the kids in the van as soon as they got home from school, we had everything packed and ready to go. We had a teepee at that time and I had folded it and placed it on top of the Dodge van (it was an extra-long van with a bed and fridge in it). Then I laid the teepee poles on top of the tent and strapped them down tight both front and rear. We had four children at the time- three more came later.
We drove north toward Swan Valley, it was somewhat milder weather there and less snow because of lower elevation. We decided to drive across the Snake River to the Fall Creek road, then up that canyon for several miles, looking for a favorable camping place. One thing for sure, we would most likely be the only people camping up there. Most people didn’t have the good sense to go camping that early in the spring, but fortunately we did, so we would have the entire place to ourselves, which was the way I liked it.
We found a side road and explored up a draw for a mile or two and found a nice place. Soon we had the teepee up and a fire going and we cooked a nice dinner in our Dutch oven. We played games and just had a lot of fun running around, breathing in all the fresh air. We roasted marshmallows and made s’mores and just had a fun time as a young family.
It was nice to have a big tent to sleep in, plenty of room for all of us. There were the four oldest children with the fourth being just a baby. We finally settled down for the night and drifted off into dream land.
When we awoke in the morning it was winter again. There was three or four inches of new snow on the ground and it was cold. I started a fire and soon we had a good big blaze to keep warm by and some hot coals to cook on. After breakfast we decided it was best to break camp and get out while we could, more snow could come, and I didn’t want to risk getting stuck. I thought I’d better start the van so it could be warming up while we tore down the teepee and packed things up. When I turned the key in the ignition, I heard the sound of nothing, dead silence. What you fear most when way back in the hills, especially with a family is a dead battery and nobody around to give you a jump. My fears were realized. I tried several times. No go. I raised the hood checked the connections. Dead, double dead. Not a good feeling. The teepee, I decided must stay up and told the boys not to pull the stakes.
What to do? It was several miles to the highway, maybe eight to ten miles I guess. The only thing I could think of was to hike out to the highway and flag down some help who would be willing to drive all the way up to our camp and jump us. I didn’t like the idea of leaving my family alone, but I could think of no better option. We gathered in the teepee to get out of the cold snowy weather and talk over what to do. I presented my plan, nobody really wanted to do that but it seemed like that’s what we had to do.
Our oldest daughter was about 10 or 11 years old. She said, “Let’s pray.” Now why had we forgot the most important thing? That was the first thing I should have thought of and done. Many times it’s our children that teach us what we should be doing as parents. “Of course, that’s right,” I said, “would you please pray?” We all knelt down and she talked to God. She explained our situation and asked Him for help. I felt a little better just knowing we had done the right thing, but also because we had done one of the most important and necessary things God tells us to do especially when we are in trouble and need help, that is, we “asked” for help. When we ask God for help that allows Him to start doing something for us because that’s how He operates. He acts when we show trust and faith by asking. He also is very polite and will not “force” himself on us or do things without an invitation, He respects our privacy and our freedom of choice. If we don’t invite him in, He will not come in. He says “I stand at the door and knock,” but if we don’t “ask” Him to come in, He won’t.
Almost immediately things began to happen. We heard the sound of an automobile coming up the road while we were still in the teepee. I stepped out to see a green forest service truck coming up the road toward our camp. I thought “we are saved, thank you Lord.” There were three men in the truck, all forest service employees, I walked toward them as they came to a stop and got out. I said a very friendly hello, and they returned the gesture. I said “I’m so glad you guys are here, my battery is dead and we sure could use a jump.” “Sure, glad to help,” and they got the jumpers out and positioned the truck while I opened the hood again and soon we were in business.
While we were talking and listening to my engine to see if it was running well, I said to the guy, “Boy, I’m sure glad you showed up, I was getting ready to hike out to the highway for help.” He then said something to me I have never forgotten. He said, “There was no reason for me to come up this road, I was headed up Fall Creek when we passed this side road. I had the feeling I should come up this road. I had no reason to come up here, it would be wasting time to come, but I just had a feeling I needed to turn around and drive up this road, now I know why.”
I told him that my daughter had asked God to help us, and that he was an answer to her prayer. We were all humbled for a moment and nothing was said as the meaning of things did the talking. I thanked him again and promised I would not turn the van off till we got home. Does God hear and answer our prayers? There is NO doubt in my mind. And that van purred like a kitten all the way back to Star Valley, and so did we.