I pressed down on the clutch and shifted into first gear. The truck slowly lurched forward and I double checked that my dirt bike was tied down securely in the mirror as Villa Vasquez slowly began disappearing behind us. I heard the voice of the police officer behind me casually say,
"You should have brought a rope so you could hang yourself."
Slightly shocked at such a cruel comment, I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw the sad, scowl of the handcuffed man sitting in my backseat. Defeated, he sat silently without even a glance in his direction. I shifted my weight in my seat, prepared myself for the long three hour drive, and tried to wrap my mind around all that had happened in the last several days.
Three days earlier, I had come to work as always and parked my dirt bike in the motorcycle parking lot. I climbed the stairs to my office, brewed a pot of coffee, and sat down at my desk for a morning full of office work. Ten minutes later, my boss Brian popped his head in my door and asked me if a mechanic had been planning on stopping by to pick up my dirt bike. Slightly confused, I quickly told him no as he explained to me that he had just seen a guy drive out the gate on my dirt bike. I jumped up, rushed to the window, and my eyes confirmed the unwanted truth, my bike was gone. Brian and I jumped in a base truck and took off in the direction the guys had left with my bike. We spent the next 45 minutes driving around trying to catch a glimpse of the bike with no luck. Stunned, we drove to the police station and filled out a police report with little hope that my bike would ever return. The police told me they would call. They didn't.
Frustrated, I spent the next several days trying to focus on my work and not on the fact that my bike had just got stolen. Somehow, everyone that I knew had heard about what happened and wanted to hear the story. Generally, I thoroughly enjoy telling stories but somehow this one was a little to fresh yet. Usually at the end, they would tell me that when a bike disappears, it almost never reappears. "Thanks for the encouragement." I would think to myself.
Friday morning, I got back from visiting an associate and sat down at my desk hoping to quickly finish up a few things before lunch. As I started my computer, I heard Jayson York, one of our directors, coming out of his office talking excitedly on the phone and asking Brian if he had seen me. Overhearing him, I walked out wanting to see what he wanted.
"Melisa has your bike." Jayson half yelled excitedly.
"Has my what?" I said skeptically.
"Melisa found your dirt bike while she was on the way to the beach."
In classic doubting Thomas fashion, I called Melisa so I could hear it and believe it for myself. Apparently, Melisa, a friend and coworker of mine, was with a group of students driving on the interstate toward a beach on the north coast, 2 1/2 hours away from Jarabacoa, where my dirt bike had recently broke down as it was heading toward the border of Haiti. As Melisa and the driver, who happened to be my mechanic, passed the bike, they both were fairly certain that it looked exactly like my bike. They hit the brakes and parked the van on the side of the road as if something had broken down. My mechanic jumped out of the van and started off in the direction of the bike faking a conversation on his cell phone. As he passed my bike, he immediately saw the key identifying factor. The sticker on the side read "Momtain Trail." (The previous owner who didn't speak English accidently spelled Mountain wrong on the sticker.) Melisa and I had often joked about me having the only "Momtain Tail" in all of the Dominican Republic yet I had never realized how much of a benefit that might be one day. Upon recognizing the bike, my mechanic needed only to turn around, walk past the van to a police checkpoint about 100 feet ahead and inform one of the several police officers.
Being a numbers guy, it wasn't hard for me to figure out that the odds of Melisa going to the beach, my bike breaking down at the spot, Melisa and my mechanic recognizing the bike, and that police officers were on hand are not all that high. That doesn't even include the fact that they spotted the bike 2 1/2 hours away from where it was stolen. Lots of people told me I was really lucky that I got my bike back but I knew it wasn't luck. People don't get lucky with those types of odds. I knew it was one of God's miracles in my life. As I like to joke, it was my"Momtain Miracle". :)
I could continue with the story and tell about my trip to Villa Vasquez, how I tried to navigate the justice system, bribed the cops, eventually took my bike along with the the thief back to Jarbacoa in MY truck, how I ended up on the news in La Vega, and eventually had to decide what justice should be for the thief, but instead of rambling on about all those things, I simply wanted to take this Thanksgiving Day and praise God for the way he took care of me. In all honesty, it was only a dirt bike that was stolen. If it wouldn't have been found, I would have lived, moved on, and probably forgotten about it within a couple of month, BUT God was faithful and he cares deeply about me.
Last night at our staff bible study, Jayson spoke about five reasons everyone should be thankful. One of the things he mentioned was how thankfulness for what God has done in our life should result in a trust in the future. It is easy for me to look back on my life and see all the reasons I should be thankful, the ways that God has worked miracles throughout my life. However, I have to admit that it doesn't always build my trust that God will do the same in the future. The Israelites were constant examples of this. They wandered through the desert and God miraculously cared for them in each in every situation yet they never seemed to learn to trust that he would do it again. Most of us tend to live life much in the same way. I hope as you reflect on all the things you are thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend, you would rest in the peace that the creator God who provides those "Momtain Miracles" will continue to do it tomorrow and the next day!