Children’s Story – The Fourth Man in the Boat

It was in Venezuela, a country in the northern part of South America. One of our missionaries, his assistant, and a boy to help care for the boat were passing up a large river in the mission boat. When they came to a fork in the river, they did not know which way to go. They decided to try the right-hand branch of the river.

They had not gone far when they found that they could go no farther. They returned to the fork, and took the left branch. They passed up this branch until it began to grow dark. Then they cast anchor and lay down in the boat to sleep.

The next morning, they continued their journey up the river until they reached a town where they were to hold meetings.

After the meetings were over, they returned to the fork of the river. Here they stopped at a house, and were given permission to stay all night. The missionary and his assistant went up to the house, leaving the boy to look after the boat.

“Where is your companion?” the owner of the house asked.

“He is at the boat, but he will soon be up,” the missionary answered, thinking that the man was speaking of the boy.

“But where is the other one?”

“There are only three of us.”

“I saw four men in the boat when you went up,” he continued. “Your helper here was at the front, steering the boat; you were at the side, leaning over to watch; and the boy was on the other side, taking the depth of the river.”

“Where was the fourth man?” I asked.

“He was standing right by your side, and was dressed in white.”

Then he described how my two helpers and I were dressed. I knew by this that he had observed carefully and correctly. He told us that this part of the river was very dangerous.

With gratitude I thanked God that He had saved us from dangers that we knew not of. He had fulfilled to us His promise, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them” (Psalm 34:7).

Eagles, Selections from the True Education Series, ©1976, 59, 60.