By MARK MAYNARD
ASHLAND, Ky. – On Tuesday afternoon my assignment – given to me by myself – was to find the man with the cross.
I’d talked with him on his cellphone and had a general proximity of where the man carrying the cross was going to be. He was walking on U.S. 23, said he was near the exit for the Industrial Parkway near Wurtland and headed toward Ashland. He told me he’d be on the right side of the road.
We hung up and my journey began. I thought I knew where to look for the man with the cross but, as it turned out, I wasn’t looking in the right direction at all. Never mind, though, I stubbornly plowed on. I’ll do it my way. As I drove down U.S. 23 and came near Wurtland, I kept looking to my right for the man with the cross. Where could he be? He wasn’t in my sight. Could I have possibly missed him? Could I have driven past the cross and not seen him?
There were red lights along my journey and even a slight detour near the scene of a minor accident, much like life has its stop signs and detours. But there was still no sign of the cross, even though it was there in plain sight for me to see.
My eyes were looking elsewhere, almost looking past the man with the cross. I would find him eventually, I reasoned, if I just kept driving. But eventually I realized I’d gone too far. I knew it, too. We always know. There was no man with the cross in my vision. I must not have been looking in the right place.
How could I have missed him? But somehow, I did, I missed this man carrying the cross.
So I turned around, hoping to get a second chance at meeting him. Eventually, there he was! I’d found him! The man carrying the cross on his shoulder was in my sights. He had been looking for me too, hoping we would eventually meet.
This story is true – I did meet the man named Rick Newton, who was carrying a cross the same way he’s done it for the past 40 years during an incredible ministry that has taken him 23,000 miles – but the story also preaches.
How many times do people miss seeing the cross, even when it’s right there in front of them? I was determined to find him but my eyes were fixed on the wrong side of the road. I was looking in the wrong place. I was lucky because I found a way back to him.
In life, we don’t always get that second chance.
It’s our prayer at Amy For Africa that you don’t need a second chance. We hope your eyes are fixed on the cross and never stray. The cross is where we have hope, love, and redemption.
Watch the cross. You’ll be glad you did.