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Chapter Six

Divine Appointments

By

Jerri Tuck

1

"And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street
........... for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name
before the Gentiles......"
Acts 9:11-15

 Sitting in a strip joint in Middle Georgia, Roger managed to squelch the voice of the Holy Spirit.  As a fifteen year old youth he had made a commitment to Christ and had voraciously studied his Bible.  In later years he would browse through his notes and realize that God had been drawing him into a teaching ministry, but at this time in his life, stationed in Warner Robins, Satan was slowly, but surely, pulling him down into the painful darkness of sin. 

Lonely and homesick, Roger had gone into a topless bar.  Ordering a beer, he then sat down at a crowded table where, stripped to the waist, girls were gyrating and smiling enticingly at the cheering audience, while performing the latest dance steps on the table tops.  Loud, pulsating music pounded out the beat that seemed to match his heart, as the black lights gave the performing girls an ethereal appearance.   A petite, pretty brunette flashed an inviting smile at Roger.  Their eyes locked.

Away from home, and vulnerable, Roger willingly yielded to her seductive advances.  Later, he was to discover that Ann, a single mother, had a young daughter.  According to her story, she was doing the best she could to support them both.  "Sometimes we have to do distasteful things to make it in this world," he reasoned to himself, justifying her vocation.

Having a natural love for children, Roger soon took Ann and her daughter on as his new little family.  He knew they could make it work. They needed each other, and the little girl needed both a mommy and a daddy.  It was decided.  They would get married and have a real home together.

When Roger finished his tour of duty in the Air Force, he bought a house in Cochran.  It was a large house, big enough for friends, Ron and Julie, to move in with them.  It was going to be a fresh start for both couples.  No more strip bars!  Small town life was what they all needed.

2After completing active duty, Roger and his friend Ron went off to trucker’s school while Ron's wife Julie babysat her child and Ann's little girl.  Ann got a job washing dishes in a small local restaurant.  It wasn't long after Ann started her new job that one of the waitresses invited her to church.  The waitress was our daughter Dotty!

Ann was very interested in God and knew there was something lacking in her life.  She told her friend Julie about the conversations she was having with Dotty.  At the same time Dotty was telling me about these newcomers who had moved to Cochran.  My burden for them began to grow.

Dotty told me where Ann, and her friend Julie were living, so one day I decided to drive by.  As I neared their house, I saw two ladies standing on the porch.  Since I knew Ann was at work, I realized the woman standing in the doorway must be Julie.  I stopped and yelled, "Ma'am could I talk to you a minute?"  All three of the women turned and looked at me.  The two visitors thought I was talking to them.  Pointing to Julie, I said ,"No...I mean her."

Quite shocked, Julie came over to the car.  Looking her straight in the eye and warning her in a low, somber voice, I said, "You don't know me, but God sent me here.  Those people are from a cult.  Don't buy anything from them.  I'll be back later."

Just as seriously she responded back, her eyes showing her astonishment at what was happening.  "Okay."  I knew she was wondering who I was and who could have sent me with such an urgent and strange message.  Flashing her an approving smile, I drove off.

Now I firmly believe in divine appointments.  Don't you?  This was definitely one of them.  This little gal was shook to her toes and told her visitors she couldn't talk to them and promptly went back into the house.

3Later, I dropped by and met both couples.  They all seemed pretty nervous about meeting me and when I introduced myself to Roger, he blurted out, "Have you ever read The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey?"  When I told him I had, he later confessed, "That was the trigger.  I knew God was after me."

Oh, friend, let me tell you.  God knows where we are.  He will go to any lengths to bring us back.

It wasn't long before everyone in the household was going to church. Attendance was spasmodic, but nonetheless our family was rejoicing to see God working in both couples’s lives.

Although Ann was going to church, she still hadn't given her heart to Christ.  So much was head knowledge with her.  She knew receiving Christ was the right thing to do, but the pull of the past was too great. She soon stopped attending altogether.  It seemed like all the progress we had made with both families was being sabotaged by Satan.

Several months went by.  Ann had quit her job at the restaurant. Knocks at their door went unanswered.  I was discouraged.  But God wasn't!

One day, while driving by their house, I saw Roger on the front porch.   I waved cheerfully and proceeded to the stop sign.  I'd like to say I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Put the car in reverse," or something equally dramatic or spiritual.  However, I didn't.  I just got up to the corner, hesitated, then put the car in reverse and backed up to Roger's front yard.

Jumping out of the car, I said, "How are you doing brother?"

I was to find out several years later he wasn't doing well at all.  In fact, he and God were in a deep conversation, and I was interrupting it big time.  Unknown to me, Ann had left Roger and gone back to work at her old vocation.  Deeply depressed, he had gathered about fifty pills and was telling God, as he sipped on his beer, why he had to kill himself.

That was when he saw me coming down the street.  "Oh no," he thought.  "She's going to ruin everything."  As I drove by, he quickly hid his drink and waved back, breathing a sigh of relief.  I wasn't going to mess it up after all.  He could still kill himself.  That is, just as soon as he could make God understand his whole reason for doing so.  Then he saw my reverse tail lights light up.  "Oh no.  Here she comes."

As I stepped out of the car, Roger hid the beer.  Coming toward me, he responded, "I'm not doing too well.  Ann has left me."

Telling him how very sorry I was about his situation, I invited  him to a church supper.  "Don't worry about bringing anything." I told him with all the kindness I could put in my voice, "We'll have plenty to eat." My heart went out to this young man.

4

That encounter was the beginning of new things for Roger.  At the church that night he turned his life over to the Lord Jesus Christ.  No, Ann didn't come back and get saved.  They didn't live happily ever after.  As far as Roger knows, she's still dancing in strip bars. We prayed earnestly that she would change.  But she didn't.  It was tough for Roger. But Roger started growing in the things of the Lord.  He was in church and Bible studies at every opportunity!

Months later Roger moved from Cochran.  Then, while on duty with the Air National Guard in Denmark, he slipped a few times.  Satan doesn't let go easily.  We kept him in our prayers.  After his return to the states, Roger was determined to get on with his life and with Jesus.  He would call now and then and let us know that he was going forward. We rejoiced with him.

Before long there was a wedding announcement.  We praised the Lord with him when he told us the Lord had given him a precious Christian woman to share his life with.  Melinda also had a love for children and ministry.  They became children's ministers, and today work with puppets in their church, telling boys and girls about Jesus.  They are quite a team for Jesus!

The day that seemed so hopeless to Roger actually became his turning point.  God had a wonderful plan for Roger.  Today he's walking in that plan and sharing with everyone what Christ has done for him.

A little over a year ago Roger was on his way home to Atlanta from Savannah with his guard unit.  He was sharing his story, as he has so many times, with a fellow soldier, just the way I've shared it with you.  As they were heading north on I-16, they were nearing a truck stop called Me Maw’s.  Roger told the young man confidently, "I'm going to pray that Jerri Tuck will be at the truck stop so you can meet her!"

5This truck stop is 20 miles from our house and in the middle of nowhere.  We rarely went there, because of the inconvenience of the location. Yet for some strange reason, while Charlie and I were sitting in our den, reading the paper, I looked at him and said, "Let's do something different.  Want to go to Me Maw's and have some lunch?"

"Sure," Charlie responded gamely.

We had not seen or talked to Roger in months.  Imagine our surprise when Roger, and a crowd of soldiers, popped in for some quick refreshments.  He introduced us to a young Guardsman, all the while beaming from ear to ear.   Then, after some small conversation, Roger and the men in his unit, were back on the interstate, headed for Atlanta.

It was over a year later that Roger told us about his near suicide attempt and his miraculous answer to prayer in meeting Jerri Tuck on I-16, at a truck stop called Mee-Maws!

Without a doubt ....... another divine appointment.

Today, no longer walking in the darkness of sin, Roger is keeping a lot of these life changing appointments.  As he and his beautiful wife, Melinda, tell children about Jesus, they are also sharing with them the profound truth that life in Christ is more exciting than anything the world offers.  They ought to know!   

Prayer for Today 

Dear Lord,

          Today is a new day.  A day filled with divine appointments.  Oh Lord, help me to be on time – not too early and not too late.  I don’t want to miss that lost soul who will be at the next checkout counter, at the doctor’s office, or even at the ballgame.  Let me listen to your voice, Lord, and heed your instructions.  Perhaps our special meeting will affect his whole eternity.

                                      In Jesus name, 

                                      Amen

 

Jerri Tuck –

JERRITUCK@aol.com

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