Living in America can be hard on your faith. Life is designed to be comfortable and risk-free here. But the life of faith is, of necessity, uncomfortable. Sometimes God will call us to do faith-stretching exercises that on their surface seem a little crazy.
That's how my son, Seth, and his friend Neil, felt when God challenged them to spend a weekend relying on him by hitchhiking. They left with nothing but the clothes on their back in the evening, the inspiration of Matthew 10 ringing in their ears. After getting picked up and dropped off a few times and decided to find a place to sleep.
They spent the night in the cab of a truck that had been left on the side of the road and woke up cold. Eventually, they were picked up by a physical therapist named Tom. Tom offered to take them the rest of the way to Ashville if they would come to his house in South Carolina and do some yardwork first.
Not having any better prospects, they said yes. Neil describes the experience as follows:
Arriving at his house on Lake Hartwell, we were relieved to find it quite beautiful, built like a rustic stone German house. Tom introduced his German wife, Margret, who seemed pleasant and warm. It didn't seem to surprise her that Tom had picked up some strangers.
Tom said that he would get us a room at his favorite hotel in downtown Asheville.
It sounded almost too good to be true. After all, we had only met Tom a little over an hour ago. He seemed genuine enough so we thanked him and let the possibility of sleeping in a hotel take root in our mind.
Then, it hit me. The moment
. Our story was forming.
God was providing. Joy was beginning to spill over in my spirit.
Before heading to Ashville we all swam in the lake with some extra suits from Tom. The sun danced on the water as my spirit did a jig. What a nice way to spend a Saturday –a little bit of yard work, swimming, and staying in downtown Asheville. Maybe I should do this more often.
In the car ride up we exchanged conversation on all sorts of topics: economy, travel, politics, religion, and our stories. I discovered that long ago Tom had been groomed to become a Lutheran minister. He studied Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and many other religious manuscripts. At some point, he became disenchanted with the church. He experienced religion that took over relationship and bureaucracy that stepped over felt needs.
Tom was true to his word and got us a room at the Downtown Inn. At the front desk with red dirt on my shirt and no luggage, I felt like a homeless impostor pretending to be in the right place.
Tom expressed how much Seth and I were an inspiration and encouragement to him and how blessed he felt to meet us. It was mutual. Tom is a very genuine, caring person – like a grandfather. We felt respected, cared for, and blessed by his life.
In the hotel room, praises of thanksgiving poured off our lips. A clean shower, air-conditioning and big soft bed rehabilitated my body and exhaustion.
Eventually, after 14 separate rides, Neil and Seth made it to their destination and from there, returned home. They achieved their objective of trusting God in radical ways. They learned that sometimes all he needs is a weekend to re-establish a relationship where we depend fully on him.
When was the last time you really trusted God in a radical way? Consider the possibility that he may be wanting you to do something challenging like Neil and Seth did just to demonstrate that he is trustworthy. It's not as crazy as it seems.