The embankment on the other side was steep, and a deep groove, probably knee deep, had been etched there by people walking over the years. The groove was edged by stinging nettle, so we needed to be well balanced to avoid the obstacles.
We stayed much longer than anticipated at church and darkness fell like a bomb. As I mentioned it was the rainy season, and the sky was cloudy. No moon or stars. No beaconing firelights or lamps. When you live 50 miles from the nearest source of electricity, a black night is a BLACK NIGHT!
Andy clicked on the flashlight . We began to make our way back toward the river, avoiding the nettles as best we could. We were half way down that groove when the piddly beam of light went out all together. We stopped dead still. Andy shook it and banged it on his hand. Nothing happened.
That pleasant gurgle of rushing river water turned menacing, now a source of terror rather than refreshment.
My mind raced over the warning given to us by our contractor, “Don’t ever go out at night. That’s when the rattle snakes hunt. It isn’t safe.”
I recalled a lady who had come to us a few days earlier with three snake bites. They weren’t poisonous bites, but became nastily infected. They were water snake bites.
Fighting the panic I felt, I asked Andy to give me the flashlight. I, too, shook it and banged it against my hand with no results.
I held it up toward heaven. “God!” (I spoke in a loud voice, just in case he couldn’t hear.) “You know we can’t get home without a flashlight. I know I should have replaced this battery, but I didn’t. Could you just make it work long enough for us to get safely home? We’ll cut through the corn field, if we have light enough to see the barbed wire fence and how to get through it. We’ll hurry.” I guess I thought that would make a difference to God.
I took a deep breath and clicked the switch. A bright beam, much brighter than the previous one, flooded our path and showed us the stepping stones in the river. We did indeed hurry across the river, through the barbed wire fence and between the corn rows to our house.
I never felt so much relief as when we opened the door to the house. Andy hurried to the table where our oil lamp stood ready to be lit. The instant he struck a match to light the lamp that flashlight went out … forever. It never worked again. I tried new batteries, new bulb and nothing worked. We threw it away.
Let me tell you, we thanked God that He once more said, “Let there be light.”