Sunday, January 13, 2008

God's Hands

In 2002, I set out from Oregon on a 2500 mile trip to Biloxi, Mississippi. I was driving a 17' Ryder truck, with a trailer attached to the back carrying our mini-van. Sean, Kristine and I were on our way to Keesler AFB to be with Tim, who had just finished Air Force Basic Training and was in tech school in Biloxi.

On the second day, I had been driving awhile when I stopped at a rest stop. Turning the key to the "off" position in the ignition, I was perplexed to discover that the engine kept humming along. I removed the key; still the engine purred on. I broke into a cold sweat. How was I going to leave the truck if it was still running? I used my cell phone to call both my dad and my father-in-law but no one answered. I sat there, completely stumped. This wasn't something Mr. Radford had prepared me for in Driver's Ed. I decided the only thing I could possibly do was to keep driving. As I pressed the break pedal (so I could put the truck into "drive"), the engine stopped. I restarted the engine, then removed the key. Still, the engine was running. Only pressing the break, with the key out of the ignition, stopped it.

Concerned about what might be wrong with the truck, I drove to a truck stop and sat down for lunch in a cafe. I was distressed and began to feel very, very alone. I started questioning the wisdom and making such a long trip with only my small kids. My mind filled with doubts and my body tensed with anxiety. With limited money, two kids to care for, a big vehicular load with untold troubles, and being far from anyone I knew, I broke into an all-out panic.

A large group came in together and sat at a table in the center of the room. I saw a Star of David on the t-shirt of one of the leaders and determined they must be Jewish. It seemed like a young-adult group, with two middle-aged leaders, on a trip together.

I watched them for awhile, then noticed that the Star of David on the t-shirt was fashioned out of the word "Jesus". Hm. Interesting. It took me at least fifteen minutes to get up the courage to approach them. I knelt down next to the male leader and asked for help.

He and his wife came to our table, then she stayed with the kids while I took the man out to the truck show him the problem. We went back in and sat together and talked for awhile, me telling why I was so far from home and where I was going. Somehow it came out that I was a Christian, and so were they. The woman gave only a small, quiet smile when I said I had thought they were Jewish. It was only later that I realized they were Messianic Jews.

The whole group took me into a side room at that cafe and we held hands in a circle and prayed. It was the most amazing feeling, to be linked to people I didn't even know, to be cared for by them and to realize we knew the same God. As out prayers rose, so did my spirit and I knew I was loved and watched over. Who else but a loving and all-seeing God could have sent my brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage and help me right at the moment I needed it most?

After the prayer, the whole group began to approach me with money; ten, twenty and fifty dollar bills filled my hand. I accepted reluctantly, they gave willingly. I was speechless.

I don't know who they were, though I exchanged a couple of emails with the leaders (but have since lost touch). But what they did that day- their willingness to share, to love and have compassion for me and my children- has become a part of me. I will never forget them, or the knowledge that in all things, God sees my need and helps me.


  1. I will never forget the day you pulled away in that semi truck. I was amazed that you would even attempt such a thing...I was even more amazed of this story when you told it to me the first time.

    Thank you for this encouragement. As Julie puts it, sometimes I forget that there is someone out there "who knows my name". are really kicking my behind in the posting department! What am I going to do while you are traveling..I know..uploading my pics might be a good start.

  2. I remember Mr. Radford boy those were the days. I dont think you ever told me that story wow I am amazed at the wonders God is always showing for his Children.
    love ya B