As Timothy Mouse looked out his window each morning at the colourful flowers and huge, leafy plants of Hidden Valley, he stretched his arms out wide and said, “Hurray! Hurray! It’s a beautiful day!”
But one day, when he woke up and stretched out his arms, they felt achy and stiff. When he opened his mouth, only a hoarse whisper came out. His throat was hot and scratchy, like a fire burned inside.
“I don’t feel so good,” he said to Mom in a croaky voice.
Mom felt his forehead and said, “Back to bed with you, Timothy! Rest well. God will watch over you.”
Timothy climbed back into his cozy bed and closed his eyes. He smelled fried cheese and toast, and heard Dad, Mom and his older sister Maria getting ready for the day.
Dad came into his room and said, “I’m off to work, Son. Get well. I love you!”
Maria called out, “Bye Timothy! I’ll tell the kids at school you’ll hopefully be back tomorrow and that you say ‘hi.’ Get better!”
Soon all he heard was Mom digging and raking in the garden. Then he fell asleep.
Timothy woke up suddenly. His room looked strangely dark, and the wind howled louder than ever before.
“Wake up, Timothy, we have to go!” said Mom, shaking him. Her voice sounded worried and her eyes were wide.
“Why? What’s happening?” said Timothy as he sat up and rubbed his eyes.
“Come quickly,” said Mom. “A terrible storm is wiping out Hidden Valley. It’s destroying everything. Mr. Eagle has come to take us to a safe place.”
“But… what about Dad and Maria?” said Timothy. His heart was pounding.
“I don’t know where they are,” said Mom with a sob in her voice. “But we have to go now or we will be swept away by the wind. Hurry!”
Timothy ran out the door with Mom. They climbed onto Mr. Eagle’s back, settled into his feathers, and held on tight for the flight.
As they flew, Timothy could see other eagles rising with the Hidden Valley animals on their backs. All over the ground, plants and flowers lay broken and wilted. Houses were crushed. Everything looked dark and gloomy as the rain beat down hard.
A big tear rolled down Timothy’s cheek. It seemed to open the way for more tears, because soon they were pouring down like sad waterfalls.
Mr. Eagle set them down in front of a large cave. Timothy wiped his eyes and saw mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits inside—all from Hidden Valley.
He ran quickly into the cave and called out, “Dad? Maria? Are you here? Has anyone seen my dad? Anyone?”
The other animals shook their heads sadly. Timothy walked slowly back to the entrance and found Mom, who was talking to Mrs. Dormouse, their next-door neighbor.
“I haven’t seen them,” Mrs. Dormouse was saying to Mom. “Come, you and Timothy can stay near me.”
“Thank you,” said Mom. “We need to rest. It’s too dark to search for them tonight.”
Timothy suddenly felt very weary. After drying off near the fire, he ate some peanuts and pumpkin seeds. He lay down on a mat next to the cave wall, pulled a blanket over himself, and slept until morning.
When Timothy awoke, animals were scurrying around, making breakfast and chattering. Timothy’s cold was better, but he felt heavy inside, like a big rock sat in his tummy. He didn’t get up and he couldn’t say “Hurray! Hurray! It’s a beautiful day!”
“Did they come yet?” he asked Mom.
“No. I’m sorry,” said Mom, and a tear slipped down her face.
Timothy rolled over and stared at the rocky wall of the cave.
“Breakfast is ready, Timothy. Come, let’s eat!” said Mrs. Dormouse.
“I’m not hungry,” said Timothy. As he pulled the blanket over his head, he felt numb and cold inside—worse than his hands had felt when he had forgotten his mittens and built a snowmouse at school with his friends.
He didn’t even feel like being with his friends right now. He had seen Peter and Hannah in the cave last night, but all he wanted was to find his dad and Maria.
He poked his head out from the blanket and stared at the dark wall. Right in front of him, he saw a little thread of gold glittering in the dim light. His eyes followed it up the wall and saw it spreading out, like branches on a tree.
“It’s weird to see a gold tree on this wall,” he thought. Then he remembered God’s promise to give us gladness instead of despair and to make us like oak trees, strong and brave for Him.
“Dear God,” he prayed, “I know you are here with me and you love me even though I feel so sad. Thank you for the beautiful gold tree on this dark wall, and for reminding me that you will make me strong. Please help me find Dad and Maria.”
Timothy reached up and touched the branches of the golden tree, and as he did, the outline of a door appeared around the tree on the cave wall, right down to the floor. And the door began to open!
(To be continued…)By Annette Ford
Do you realize how precious you are to God? Trust Him in the dark times: in sickness, in sadness, and when you don’t understand what is happening around you. He will give you His peace and will protect you. Don’t give in to despair. He is with you and will help you see His beauty and goodness even in dark times.
Isaiah 61:3 [He has sent me] to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.