“I found a five dollar bill on the pavement in front of our truck!” I waved the bill as I walked toward my husband, Bob. He stood in a circle of drivers in a truck stop parking lot. Three smiling faces turned my way and one stepped aside to allow me to join them.
“Always nice to find more than just pennies,” Bob smiled. Long haul trucking is our vocation, but it limits our ability to exercise, so we make time to walk around the parking lots. As we go along, we collect any coins we find on the ground.
“We’ve been invited to join these drivers for dinner. Would you like to?” Four sets of eyes waited for my answer.
Joining other drivers can be quite interesting and sometimes entertaining. Other times they complain about the job, other drivers, their families or national or world events. Sometimes that can make everyone uncomfortable. But we could always leave.
The men smiled and headed toward the restaurant as we fell in behind. Most long haul truck drivers are decent, hardworking family men or women. They take pride in their work; however, being away from family and friends for several weeks at a time takes its toll. Loneliness, divorce and being disconnected from loved ones are common in the trucking industry. Cell phones have helped. But I understand the difficulties of having a husband away more than he was home.
“There are going to be five other guys.” Bob stepped beside me.
“Oh great, six to one, this should be interesting.” I whispered.
More and more women are driving semi-trucks for a living; however, men dominate the industry. Most accept women drivers, but there are a few with the macho attitude women do not belong behind the wheel of an eighteen-wheeler. Yet, many wives join their husbands, getting their CDL and driving as teams. It’s what I did. After a failed business left us with many debts, I got my license and joined my husband on the road.
Inside we were joined by two other men. We found a table, ordered, and soon our dinner arrived. Bob prayed over our food and we all dug in. Bob and I are grateful to God for our many blessings, so regardless of where we are or whom we’re with, we bow our heads in thanks.
Lively conversation peppered our dinner hour. We shared stories of grumpy dispatchers, shippers and receivers as well as bad roads, high fuel costs and our families.
We laughed about the goofy and unsafe things people do while driving their vehicles. Sitting higher than regular cars allows semi drivers to see into the shorter cars and pickups. It is surprising what we see. People put on makeup, play games on their phones or other devices and reading papers or books.
One by one the drivers left until only three of us were left. It had been a very enjoyable dinner.
“I was pleased you prayed over dinner,” Frank leaned back against the cushions. “I’m a believer also. May I share with you how I came to the Lord?”
Surprised, but pleased to be with another believer we both said, “yes.”
“You wouldn’t believe it seeing me today, but years ago I was a biker. I had long unkempt hair, a beard, mustache, and leathers. I rode a Harley with the Hell’s Angles. We were a ruff crowd and into some pretty bad stuff. Lots of things I’m not proud of now. One of them was drugs…big time.”
I looked at the clean-cut pleasant-looking man. He was right; it was hard to compare this short-haired middle-aged man with the one he described. I liked this man. He was not at all like any of the men in the pictures I remembered seeing of members in that bike club. They were people I wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.
“My wife, two kids and I were living in northern California where I logged for a living. We had a small-borrowed RV trailer out in the middle of the forest. I worked during the week and got high on the weekends.
“After a while my wife tired of our life-style. She worried about our children and the effect we were having on them. They were really young, two and three years old. She began to think our life needed to change. One day while cleaning, she came across a Bible in the trailer and began to spend time reading it. She didn’t tell me about that until later. She figured I’d get mad or something. She was probably right.
“Anyway, it was Thursday. We were out of food and almost out of gas in my
motorcycle. I’d spent all of our money getting high. When I got home from work, Karen asked me to watch the kids. She said she needed some time to herself. She told me later she walked out into the forest and prayed.
“She told me her prayer was simple. “God, I don’t know if you really exist, but if you do I really need a sign. I know the Bible says we have to have faith, but I just don’t have any.”
“You need to understand we lived out in the boonies. There was no one around for miles. We picked this spot so we could get high and no one would be around to bother us or turn us in. We’d lived there for several weeks and never caught sight of anyone around.”
“As Karen turned back toward the RV she found a brand new five-dollar bill on the ground. She ran back to camp laughing and crying. “God is real! God really exists! Look, I asked for a sign and he left this for us.” She was waving a five-dollar bill.
“I was surprised and pleased. As I examined the bill, I realized it was a crisp brand new bill. There were no signs of the rain that pelted the area over the last few weeks, in fact there were no signs of wear or water at all. It didn’t dawn on me till much later how that fact should have opened my eyes to God then, but it didn’t.
“I climbed on my Harley and went into town. As I drove, I grumbled, “Well, God if you gave us the money, why didn’t you make it a twenty.” He laughed. “I know now how greedy and unthankful it was to think that way, but at the time…” He shrugged.
“When I got to town I went to the store purchased a loaf of bread and bologna for three dollars and put two bucks of gas into the Harley. I drove home and we had sandwiches for dinner. There was even an extra for my lunch the next day. Logging is hard physical work, without lunch it’s hard to do the physical labor it demands. I was thankful there was an extra. After work, I picked up my check and rode into town. I ran out of gas in front of the gas station just up the street from the bank. I parked the Harley and walked. After cashing my check, I purchased food and filled my tank for the next week.
“But something changed in me that day. The seed of faith was sown that Thursday and Friday. They’ve been growing ever since. My wife accepted the Lord Jesus the day she found the five-dollars and I followed shortly after. I’ve learned God gives you just enough and just in time. We didn’t get any extra and the five dollars didn’t go very far. But it perfectly provided what we needed at the time. God’s has been doing that day after day, week after week, year after year since. God sent down just enough manna for the Israelites in the desert each day, He does the same for us.”
Bob and I sat there in amazement as Frank said goodbye.
“God was telling us the same thing wasn’t he?” I pulled out the five dollar bill I had stuck in my pocket.
“Yeah, I think so.” Bob took the bill from me and lay it on the table. “I doubt it was a coincidence. Frank didn’t join us until after you found the money. So he didn’t know what happened earlier. I think God was speaking to us through Frank. Reminding us He knows what we need, when we need it and that he will provide it.”
Several weeks later, I shared this true story with our church fellowship. Just like Bob and I, there were others in the congregation that needed to hear God will provide for our needs when we have them. At the end of the service, two women came forward and accepted Jesus as their lord and Savior.
Later our pastor shared, these two women had struggled to accept God’s love and come to him in faith. After hearing my story, they felt the assurance they were looking for. Just like Frank, Karen, Bob and I, two new believers started their walk with Jesus knowing, believing and understanding, God will provide just enough, just in time.
Frank’s not really the man’s name. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what it was and we’ve never seen him again. However, I’ll never forget him. Someday, maybe not until heaven, I’ll see him again and when I do, I’ll thank him for the lesson God used him to teach us.
The lesson: God loves us and loves to bless His children. Each and every day He provides our needs, wants and desires…just enough, just in time.
I don’t know what the future holds, however; I know I’ll acknowledge Him in all my ways and He will direct my path.