My brother-in-law, Larry, is a great guy. A Florida Athletic Hall of Fame High School Soccer Coach, in his 50’s he discovered turkey hunting. When Larry gets interested in something, intensity is too mild a word to describe his focus. The ranch has ready-made turkey hunting habitat. Larry was hooked. Before long, he was embracing all of ranch life, including having of few cows of his own.
The only problem was, Larry had a “city” truck. A “city” truck is deceptive. The advertisements say they ride like a car and carry a load like a truck, but in truth, they do neither well. “City” trucks don’t clear stumps well and don’t have four-wheel drive. As a result, “city” trucks get stuck – a lot.
I know this because I’ve had “city” trucks. A couple of them were compact trucks, which meant they would clear an anthill on a good day. I took one of my city trucks to the ranch once and got hung up thirty feet past the gate. Once again, I had to endure the humiliation of calling for help. Pop, my brother Steve, and our foreman Richard have all had to come and pull me out.
The same thing happened to Larry. He would go down into the pasture to check his turkey feeders or his cows, and he would hang up or bog down. He got stuck at one creek-crossing so much, we named it after him: “Larry’s Crossing.”
It must be hard to be a Hall of Famer and have to call people to pull you out. Finally, Larry had enough. Not too long ago, he told me he was getting a new truck.
Let me educate the truck illiterate among you. A good basic truck is a F-150 or a Chevy 1500, 4×4. That’s what I have. It will get you where you need to go in the woods. If you want a little more muscle for pulling, you get a F-250 or a Chevy 2500. These are working trucks. My brother Steve drives a F-250 4×4. A F-350 or Chevy 3500 is a serious truck. They are built tough and will pull just about anything you’ve got. The ranch truck is a F-350 and we pull a loaded stock trailer with it.
Larry was tired of having the smallest truck in the family. So, Larry bought a new 2018, F-350 Diesel 4X4 Super Crew Cab. Now if any of us got stuck, we’d call Larry. He and his monster truck would pull us out.
Larry had his truck for two weeks. He was down at the ranch and a line of thunderstorms was moving through. There were warnings of hail. Larry didn’t want his new truck to be hit by hail (I understand – I don’t want any scratches on a new vehicle until I put them there).
The problem was the new truck wouldn’t fit in the garage – too tall. We haven’t repaired the tin roof at the barn since the hurricane, so the truck wouldn’t be safe there. My brother Steve suggested Larry park his new truck under a hundred-year-old oak tree. The oak tree was thick and would block the hail.
Larry parked his truck in the suggested location and went in the house to wait out the storm. He heard the lighting strike close, but didn’t think anything of it (there are more lighting storms in the Tampa Bay area than anywhere else on earth). The lights flickered, but they do that when you are the end of the power line. After a few minutes, Larry heard “pop.” Then another “pop.”
He went outside to check out the odd sound, and smelled smoke. In panic, he thought of his beloved new truck. He rounded the corner of the house to see his brand new, 2018 F-350 Diesel 4×4 Super Crew Cab truck with 700 miles on it, on fire. Lighting had hit the oak tree and the truck was burning.
The ranch is twelve miles from the fire department in town. By the time the firefighters got there, Larry’s new truck had burned to the ground.
When I heard the news, I sent Larry a text telling him how sorry I was. He sent a text back to me, “Thou shalt not covet. Lesson learned.”
I need to tell Larry coveting is when you want something someone else has because you think it will make you somebody. Buying a big truck so you don’t get stuck is not coveting.
Maybe a better scripture is “He makes the rain fall on the just and the unjust.” Every bad thing that happens isn’t because God is punishing you. Bad things do happen to good people. Lighting strikes the just and the unjust.
What do we do when bad things happen to us? The best thing I know to do is go to the Father and ask, “What am I supposed to learn?” Sometimes we learn God is all we need. Sometimes we learn that stuff really isn’t important. Sometimes we learn God will carry us through.
Insurance should cover most of the loss. Larry will get another truck. I suspect the oak tree will live. And God will be with Larry and you and me, when rain falls, hail comes, and lighting strikes. In the end, God is enough.
PS: It never did hail.