Faith: Something Coming Out of Nothing

By Gregory Barrette

Sometimes we forget that everything that exists first began as an idea. When we become upset at not getting the assistance we need, we fail to recognize that we cannot see it only because it hasn’t yet appeared out of the invisibility of things. This happens in dramatic detail with the coming of each spring. It is so simple, but it is crucial. When we recognize that what is visible must first come out of what is invisible, we might find ourselves getting out of some pretty rough jams.

In 1972, I was hitchhiking through Texas on a 106-degree August afternoon. None of my rides had stopped for food or refreshment for quite some time, so when I was let out at an off-ramp in San Marcos, I was not only hot, but ready to faint. I remember thinking “so these are the spots before my eyes that they always talk about!”

Maybe three blocks away was a Howard Johnson’s restaurant. It would have been a godsend, but how could I ever haul my 50-pound backpack there without passing out? There was no place to hide it. I could only rest it by a light pole, in plain sight, and hope that it was still there when I returned. After I had trudged the distance, downed three quick glasses of ice water and started on a chicken drumstick, I knew—just knew—that my backpack was being stolen.

There was nothing I could do physically to prevent it, if my hunch was true. I was too weak and far away. And I didn’t have much mental capacity remaining either. So I just visualized a 20-foot tall image of Jesus standing watch over my backpack by the pole, and went back to my chicken. I ate my meal at a leisurely pace, even taking time for a piece of apple pie. When I paid my bill and exited the restaurant, I was relieved to see by backpack still there beside that lonely pole.

As I approached it, I heard some yelling from about a block away in another direction. It seems that some construction workers had seen some men in a truck pull over in an attempt to abduct my backpack. One of the workers told me “something told me to turn around and I saw them picking it up.” So the construction workers yelled threats and scared them away. What were the odds of that happening?

Of course, I have no way of proving that my letting go into trust did this, but I am grateful for the faith I exercised, which Paul likened to “the evidence of things not seen.” I have experienced this happening time and again—and, if you take a moment to reflect upon it, I am sure you have too.