There are things we tell our children never to do.

When I think about directives my parents gave to their seven kids, there are a few that stand out. For example, there was only one child that they told to never jump from the roof to the pool. There was only one child that they directed to always make sure they were back by 11 PM.  And I think that I was the only one who ever got told not to hitchhike.

Every rule has a story. So let me tell you about the reason for that particular parental decree. I was in Alaska, helping lead a great outdoor adventure: two weeks of hiking and photography for a group of burgeoning photography students.

One day, my friend Brent and I needed to travel about three miles to meet up with the rest of our team. We hesitantly stuck out our thumbs in the direction we needed to go. Eventually, a man stopped who at least looked like a reputable human.

We asked if we could ride a couple of miles down the road, and he said yes. So we squeezed our backpacks, bodies, and water bottles into the back seat only to realize to our disappointment and embarrassment about five minutes later that we were, in fact, headed the wrong direction.

My current sense of direction is hard-earned through moments like this one.

Chagrined, we asked if we could get out and our driver obliged. We waved goodbye on the side of an empty Alaskan highway, which probably left him thinking that we were positive he was an axe murderer. Bemused, we then stuck out our thumbs in the opposite direction. When we met up with our friends about 15 minutes later, we had a good laugh about our navigational adventures.

So those were the two and only times I ever hitchhiked, and I’m happy to say that both were a success.

If you find yourself not sure of which direction to head today, here’s a verse of encouragement:

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:23-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

I’ve done some pretty impressive stumbling over the years. I’ve headed in the wrong direction, or in the right direction slowly. I’ve even gotten into an unknown car with a stranger, headed the wrong way, with someone who was looking to me for navigational input.

I’m so grateful that God promises that He will make firm the steps of the one who delights in Him. If I stumble, I’m not going down for long, because God has a grip on my hand.

Take heart, friend—as you delight in God, He will make your steps firm. Most times hitchhiking is a bad idea, but sometimes it just might get you where you need to go.


Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.

—Walter Elliott