Be Careful What You Pray For!

March 8, 2016

“Be careful what you pray for – or, God works in mysterious ways!”

A lifetime ago, or so it seems, I was an owner-operator driving a truck all over the country. That meant that I left my family for weeks at a time as I tried to make ends meet with the truck and keep food on my families table. I used to do a lot of praying when I was on the road.

In a way, prayer got me into trucking and later on, out again. Prior to purchasing my own rig, I prayed that if this was God’s will for my life he would provide a way for me to make it happen. God answered that prayer and within a couple of weeks I was on the road.

I had previous experience driving a big rig, but it was always for someone else. I’d hoped that this might be the way to financial stability but that’s another story.

Although I had purchased a new truck, it was plagued with problems from the beginning. When the truck was less than three months old, it suffered a cracked head which equaled a $6000.00-dollar repair. Thankfully, the motor was under warranty, but it cost me three weeks of downtime during which there was no money coming in and a lot going out – there was still a $650.00/month truck payment to be made which was a lot of money in 1978.

We managed, barely, to survive that, and I was able to get back on the road again and attempt to make up for lost time.

Over the next three years, it seemed that the truck was in the shop as much as it was on the road. I had purchased a truck with a model KT450 Cummins engine which I learned later was a model plagued with issues from the start.

So, fast forward to a Sunday morning in July in Needles, California. I was headed for Los Angeles with an over-sized load and I wasn’t looking forward to the long pull up a 6% grade grossing 114,000 lbs. I knew it was going to be a slow ride and in the 95 degree plus desert heat I needed to really watch the engine and transmission temps.

Besides the endless repairs, trucking was taking a serious toll on my family; so, on this particular Sunday morning, I was praying as I pulled the westbound grade. I remember saying out loud, “God, you need to figure some way to get me out of this truck.” The words were barely out of my mouth when there was a loud bang from behind me and the truck began to make a grinding noise.

I was only a half mile from the summit and I started laughing telling God, “at least you could have let me make it to the top!”

I rolled the truck backwards onto the shoulder of the highway and set the brakes so I could get out and find out what caused the bang. To my dismay, I saw immediately that the transmission had separated from the engine.

Great, what was this going to cost? “Really God?” “How am I supposed to pay for this?” It was 6AM so I blocked the wheels and then crossed the median to hitch a ride back into Needles. Another driver picked me up and took me to the truckstop where I found a local deputy that knew the guy that ran a truck repair place in town.

We had to call and wake him, but he was kind enough to come out on a Sunday and we took the hook and went back up to the summit to get the truck and tow it back to town. I left the load on the side of the road to be brought back to town later with another rig. After inspecting the damage, the shop owner said we’d need to replace the transmission – all of that grinding was the gears shearing off when the transmission pulled away from the engine. He “guesstimated” that the new transmission would be about $7000,00-dollars and would take a couple of weeks to get it delivered.

Without much else to do, I called my dispatcher who recommended that I find a way home until the truck was repaired. And so, I hitched a ride into Ontario, California and caught a plane back to Minnesota. It looked like I’d have plenty of time to worry about how I was going to pay for all of this.

Maybe two weeks later, I got a call from the repair shop saying the transmission had arrived and they would have it installed in another week. I asked for a final estimate so I could see about borrowing the money to pay for the repairs but he had more to say. “I’ve got a guy here that’s interested in buying your truck.” No way! “In fact, he’s standing right here, would you like to talk to him?” Would I? Absolutely!

We spoke for a couple of minutes and I learned that he wanted to buy the truck and turn it into a wrecker. He told me it was just what he’d been looking for and he was willing to pay for the repair of the transmission. “How much do you want?” he asked. “What are you willing to pay?” The offer was more than the truck was worth even with a working transmission and he was willing to pay for the repair. “Please send a check!”

And, just like that, I was out of trucking – out of work, but out of truck driving and a huge financial burden had been lifted from my family. Like I said, God works in mysterious ways right?

Which brings me back to prayer.

God asks us to pray with confidence, confidence that He hears our prayers and that He will answer them. Where we tend to fall down is having faith that He already knows far better than we do, what we really need.

God isn’t Santa Claus and his blessings aren’t always physical. God promises to provide for us and we need to trust God, have faith in God, that He will provide.

Pray constantly – first with thankfulness for all of the blessings He gives you, and with absolute confidence that He knows what’s best and will always provide. Amen and Amen!