The Stranded Jesus Girl and the Trucker
by Ariel Rainey
At 19 years old I suffered my first break down. On the side of Maryland Interstate 70 in the stifling July heat and humidity, I sat in a dark sedan watching smoke billow from under the hood. Miles between exits, wearing a cute little sundress and white sandals, since I was headed up to an evening service at the Potomac Park campground, my situation was pretty grim. In those days of no cell phones, I couldn’t figure out my best option at that moment. I was an hour from home and an hour from the campground. I just sat there, talking to God, “Well, Lord, what do I do now?”
I popped the hood, and got out to release the smoke, if nothing else. Just looking at all those greasy engine parts was overwhelming. Standing there, indecisive and scared, praying about what to do, a big rig truck pulled to a stop behind me. The driver called out, “You need a ride to the next exit, hon?”
Instantly every horror story involving murder and mutilation went through my mind. But what choice did I have? Staying outside in the July heat alone on the side of a highway wasn’t any better. So I took a deep break and walked to the monstrous cab of his truck, praying under my breath, “Jesus, protect me. Please help me.”
I had barely settled in, warily eyeing the inside of the cab for a quick escape route if I needed one, when he asked, “Do you believe in God?” I said “yes,” and he followed that up with another question, “Have you ever trusted in Jesus as your Savior?” I smiled and told him I was actually in Bible School studying to be in ministry. His face lit up, and he began asking me questions about my testimony and my faith. As we talked and got to know each other, Steve said he loved to use his truck to help others and to preach the gospel out on the highways.
He took me to a public phone at the next exit, where I called my father, and then drove me all the way back to the broken down car. He even stayed with me until my father was able to get there an hour later. My father was so grateful for his generosity, he offered him a place to stay if he ever needed it when he was passing through our area. I’ve never forgotten him, even in two decades since. I never expected to find God in such a surprising place—a Jesus-loving trucker named Steve on the side of route 70—but God is always faithful!