Within the borders of Indiana, where my sister-in-law Melanie grew up, there lies a wooded area right next to her parents’ home, owned by a railroad company. Nestled in the middle of the wood is a large field (she thinks it’s wild corn). If she were to start walking through the woods from her house, she would come out the other side right smack dab in front of her grandparents’ house.
When she and two of her little brothers were young, their mother took them over to their grandparents, who would watch the kids so she could go berry picking. After a while the youngest, who was only two at the time, missed his mother terribly and decided to go looking for her.
No one knows just how long he’d been missing before Grandma realized he was gone. She sent the other brother, who was four, and Melanie, who was six, out to look for him (I imagine she was pretty frantic at the time, and not thinking her best).
The woods were fairly dark, and the two had no real idea of where they were going. It felt like hours later when Melanie’s brother heard whimpering, and they followed it to find their youngest hanging on to a tree for dear life. He had fallen down a hill, though he wasn’t hurt.
The two managed to pull him up, and they began to try and make their way out of the woods. The only problem was they couldn’t remember exactly how they’d gotten in. As time had passed the woods had grown darker, causing everything around them to change, making their surrounding unfamiliar. Frightened and wandering, they began to yell out for their mom, hoping she’d come find them. But she didn’t.
At last the three terrified children knelt down and offered a prayer. After saying, “Amen”, they got back up and began walking again. Eventually the woods began to lighten until they found a break in the trees. To their delight many familiar buildings were in sight, and they used these buildings as a guide to help them get back to their grandparents’ house.
It wasn’t until many years later that Melanie learned her mother’s part in all this. Turns out The cornfield stood taller than her children, even taller than her. If they had gone in, there was no way for them to see her.
Their mother began racing toward their voices in the woods, but she had such a long way to go. At that point she prayed so hard for her children to be guided out of the woods and back to their grandparents, instead of deeper into the woods towards her and possible danger.
Melanie wrote: “I’d always wondered how we made it out of the woods. I didn’t think she’d been able to hear us at all, and thought that our prayer was the reason we made it out. Come to find out, it wasn’t just our prayers that were answered. It was hers too. I can only imagine the pain it must have caused her to know we were lost and she couldn’t physically help us, and the faith she exercised in her prayers.”
Choosing to kneel down in prayer saved the lives of three children that day.