The Father Knows Best
In the early pioneer days, when the farms were a half or a full days journey away from town, just going into town was an exciting event to look forward to for most boys and young men. In a certain farm family in the historic Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania, two teen-agers were no exception. They were anxiously awaiting one special trip to town to the mill. It was to be the very first one they were to make on their own. Since it took the biggest portion of a day to get to the mill, they would spend the night in the town, in a hotel room, all by themselves. It meant the opportunity of walking up and down the town, seeing the sale items in the store, looking at the latest horse and buggy teams as well as big and heavy-duty wagons, and listening to all the news they did not get much of out home.
Early the next morning their wagon was hitched to their team of four strong stallions. The boys finished their meal in rapid order while their father remained in his room in prayer. It was the normal routine, eating breakfast while their father spent a long time on his knees talking to his Maker. They admired their father even though neither of them followed too closely in his footsteps. So they cleaned their dishes and waited.
As their father came out of the bedroom and made his way toward the boys, who were trying their best not to show any impatience or anxiety, he looked them right in the eyes and said, “Not today!”
“Not today, Dad?” one of them said very surprised. “Our supply is used up. Why shouldn’t we go on and get the things we need?”
The father sat down beside his two puzzled and disappointed sons.
“I know how much you’ve been looking forward to going into town all by yourselves. I used to look forward to it just as much as you do when I was a boy, especially the first time Pa let me go alone. But in my prayers this morning, my mind was deeply impressed with the words, ‘Let them abide till the morrow.’”
It was not blind obedience that made the boys go back out to the wagon and unhitch the team. They were disappointed, but there was no fussing or complaining. They knew that he was serious. They also knew that if he said he heard voices or was impressed with a certain thing, they could count on it being a fact.
The next day, bright and early, the two lads hustled around the farm to hitch the team together and make their long-awaited trip. The cool air gave them an added incentive to hurry. The day’s delay only added to their anticipation. All they needed now was breakfast and the consent of their godly dad. That came shortly before they had finished cleaning the breakfast dishes.
“You may go now, boys,” their dad said, “And please don’t run the horses too fast. You’ll have plenty of time to see the sights and hear all the lies being told,” he said in a laughing way that they seldom saw since their mother had died three year earlier.
About five and a half hours and a big sack lunch later, they neared the top of the only high ridge of the trip. The team was pulling right along with the wind behind them and everything seemed to be going well. As they topped the ridge, they would be able to see for miles and miles. Below would be the town they anticipated staying in that night. But, instead of seeing the normal busy little mill town, they were stunned to witness only a terrifying black smoke rising up into the skies. As far as they could see, smoke was billowing up from the ashes of what had been stores, homes and the mill. It was now a burnt-out disaster!
It was a long time before either of them said a word. They just sat in the wagon looking on in disbelief. Finally, the eldest boy gasped out, “It must’ve been Indians!”
When they returned late that night to share the terrible news with their father, a stranger sat on the front porch with their dad. His horse was hitched to the front porch rail.
“Hey, I saw that man this morning,” the youngest son said to his brother. “Don’t you remember, the horse had that funny looking white ring around his neck.”
“Yeah,” the other replied. “Wonder what he’s doing here?”
“Dad, the most terrible thing has happened,” one of them said, as the two of them bolted up onto the porch.
“I am afraid that I already know. Mr. Jenkins, here, came through the town early this morning. It was Indians all right. They used torches and tomahawks. They didn’t leave a barn, house, store, or church.”
“Yes,” the visitor added. “Just a handful of people survived.”
The evening meal saw four solemn people bowing their heads. The head of the house offered a long and heart-felt thanksgiving to his God for the protection and salvation of his sons. Three voices said “Amen.”
“Dad,” the youngest son said after supper, “We were really disappointed when we didn’t get to go to town yesterday. Now we know why the Lord impressed you to tell us not to go. I’m so thankful that you spent all those early morning hours all by yourself in the bedroom praying.”
“Me, too,” the other son chimed in. “Dad, we’re glad that you and God talk to each other.”