Sometimes you can be enjoying a beautiful, mundane afternoon and be plunged into a heart-rending crisis within a few seconds. That happened to us one quiet spring afternoon a few years ago. I was walking out across the yard enjoying the laughter and play-sounds of the children coming from the other side of the barn.
There was an old corn crib beyond the barn and the children loved to use as a little jail. It was made of wire and rusty angle iron and had a door with a latch.
A few times in my life I have had impressions, strong mystical inner feelings. Sometimes they prompt me to fulfill some obligation, more often they warn of danger. Walking toward the barn I had a strong impression in my heart to call for little Heidi. All the children were playing there beyond the barn and out of sight, but it was Heidi that came to my mind. There was a feeling of urgency attached to the thought.
“Heidi,” I called. “Come here.” Nothing.
“Heidi.” No answer.
I felt a stirring feeling in my heart and called out again louder this time wishing she would answer.
What I saw next is a scene that I will never forget. Heidi is a beautiful little girl. She has long blonde hair and mountain-blue-lake-colored eyes. Her voice is low like her mother and sisters. She is a quiet middle child who is has always been easy to raise.
She came through the barn door and out into the sunlight from the shadows of the barn and her beautiful little face was covered with blood. There was a gash on her forehead and it was gapping open and bleeding fast. It made my heart hurt to see it. It still hurts to think about it.
The children spilled out the details of the story. The neighbor boy was in the “jail” and trying to get out. A small stick was in the latch. He knew if he kicked the door the stick would snap and he would be free. He kicked with all his might at the same moment Heidi walked in front of the door. The sharp frame of angle iron caught her in the center of her forehead.
The children crowded around her with fearful looks on their faces. It was clear this was not going to be a do-it-yourself first aid job. She was heading for the emergency room for stitches. Immediately I began to feel sick about the scar that would most certainly mar her pretty little face.
I would so willingly have traded places with her. Lois and I cleaned her up and Lois used a butterfly bandage to close the wound until I could get her to the doctor. It was about twenty miles to his office. The office was closed, but he agreed to meet us there anyway.
All the way the lump stayed in my throat and my heart raced. I prayed; “O, Lord, please don’t let Heidi’s pretty little face have a scar”.
When we finally arrived at the doctor, he said, looking at the butterfly; “Who did this?” “Her mother, I said.” “I’m not going to touch this,” he said. “This will heal up fine the way it is. You tell your wife she did a great job.”
I reached for my wallet. The doctor stopped me. Listen, you stop on the way home and take the money you were going to use for me and see to it that this pretty little girl gets some ice cream.
“Will there be a scar?” I asked. “Ken, in a few weeks I doubt if you will even remember this happened”, he said reassuringly.
I thanked the good man and warmly shook his hand. Heidi and I walked to the car holding hands. Back in the car my heart settled and a wave of thanksgiving and relief flooded over me. I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord, than Heidi and I thanked the Lord together. We headed to Dairy Queen. (The doctor usually charges about $60.00 a visit so I figured we could really tank up, what with $30.00 a piece and all).
“Heidi,” I asked as we drove, “Did you hear me calling you, Sweetheart?”
“Yes,” she answered quietly in her little low voice.
“Did you come the first time you heard me call?”
“I was going to come but I just wanted to go over to the corn-crib first.”
“Is that when you got hurt.”
“Oh, Heidi,” I said; “Please remember always to come the first time you are called.”
“If you had come the first time you were called, you would never have been hurt.”
God has given me such a love for her. My only desire is for her good. I would never want her to have to suffer under unnecessary restrictions. And I would willingly have suffered myself to keep her from pain.
The road wound home over tender green hills beautiful in early spring. We dove slowly enjoying our time together. My grateful heart meditated on my Heavenly Father. All His plans for me are good. I never need to be slow to answer the first time He calls. So many painful experiences in my life could have been avoided if I had answered the first time he called.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17 NKJV) “No good thing will I withhold from those who walk uprightly.”