When I gave my heart to Jesus as an 11-year-old boy after a Sunday evening service in September 1970, I was already by then an avid coin collector; in those days, wheat pennies, buffalo nickels and even the occasional Mercury dime or silver quarter could be spotted in everyday change.
For those of us in the numismatic community, coins and the lingo that surrounds them are a way of life, and it wasn’t long before checking dates and spotting wheat ears became second nature for me.
Some of the coins (especially the pennies) in my collection have unique stories behind them. For example, I once found a 1941 penny on Dec. 7, the anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day; a 1945 penny on July 16, the anniversary of the first A-bomb test; a 1963 penny on Nov. 22, the anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination; etc.
But all that pales when I think of what occurred one night about 10 years ago, and I realized then how much coins have also been a part of my testimony.
I needed milk that evening, so I got on my bike and headed to the Riverwalk Kroger in South Charleston. Of course, I was on the sidewalk so I could avoid the highway, but then I got behind a girl who was “beboppin’” along on her way up the sidewalk while smoking a cigarette.
At that time of night, I couldn’t see a way to get past her and I didn’t want to breathe smoke all the way to the store, so I pulled up to a street light and stopped.
A few seconds later, I could just see a little round thing on the walk between the street light and the front wheel of my bicycle. After leaning over and picking it up, I saw in the light that it was a 1942 wheat penny.
At that point, I thought once again about how the Lord God guides the life of the Christian believer in every way — even in the most mundane of activities.
If I had not needed milk on that very evening, I would not have been on my bike on the way to the store. If a girl had not been smoking a cigarette ahead of me, I would not have stopped by a street light. If I had not stopped my bike right there, I would not have spotted a little round thing by the light pole. You get the idea.
The Lord God never fails to guide the lives of those who love Him and His Son, and no detail of everyday life is too small for Him. No matter what, He always knows.
Even when I find a wheat penny.