Red Shirt

I want to tell you a story. A story of how God taught me about the physical, tangible, flesh and blood presence of somebody walking with me through trouble.

But first, let’s go back to the beginning.

As some of you may know, I’ve had the privilege of going to India every now and then. On this trip I was able to take my family, my wife and my two teenage girls.

If you’ve never been to India, I will just tell you this — It’s not at all like the movies, so just get that out of your head.

India is a cacophony of noise and sight and sound and smells and food, and did I mention the colors? Colors everywhere.

Laughter and beautiful people, and profound, heartbreaking poverty. Take all of that, plus Christians who worship the one true God in the midst of real persecution, it’s an experience.

(Maybe that’s why I keep going back.)

After a week of exploring, I thought it’d be really cool, a total dad thing, to take my girls to see the Taj Mahal. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see a wonder of the world?

So that was the plan.

We went to Agra, saw the Taj Mahal, and kept falling in love with beautiful people of India.

At the end of a great trip, it was time to head back to the States. Our local hosts had booked us train passage to the airport. All along, we thought we’d take the same train back from Agra to Delhi, except, this time we weren’t booked from Agra to Delhi.

We were leaving from a different train station than before, in a city that was definitely not on the Rick Steve’s tour guide.

I don’t want to pick on any towns or single out a community. So for the sake of our story, we’ll call it “Not Agra”, okay?

The morning of, I went down to the front desk and asked for a ride from the hotel to Not Agra. As soon as I said the name of the village (Not Agra), he looked at me, the blood drained from his face, and said, “Surely, you do not mean to go to Not Agra…

Uhh, I thought I did.

He went to the back and talked with a group of guys, who kept whispering and looking back at me.

Now I was getting nervous.

I love the people of India. I love being with them. I love getting lost in a billion of them, but all of these folks from India were saying, you really shouldn’t go there.

Why were they saying that?

At that time in India, there was an uptick of violent crime, particularly against women in rural areas. Here I was traveling with three beautiful women, and all the dad alarms started going off. The second thing was when I woke up that morning, I read in the paper that the previous night, there was a terrorist attack in Mumbai.

That morning, the morning we were leaving, all of India was on alert and on edge. And everyone we talked to kept telling me, “You can’t do this. You can’t do this. You can’t do this.”

But this was the only option. We had to get back to Delhi and fly home that night.

So, I went upstairs, grabbed the girls, and we walked outside to meet our driver. I told him where we were going and I swear to you, what he said was, “Surely you do not want me to take you to Not Agra?”

Now, my whole family was nervous.

And what happens after that?

I’ll let them tell you the rest of the story…

“He or she may not be wearing a red shirt but might as well be. This person will come alongside you and remind you that you are not alone, that this is not the end; he or she will love and serve and encourage and challenge you—and God will be right there, whispering and sometimes shouting through that life.”  – The Genius of One


  • Who’s a “red shirt” in your life? Take time this week to thank that person for being a consistent friend
  • Enter into someone’s life — Sign up and serve on a team at your church, work, or school. It’s your turn to be a red shirt to someone else
  • Read chapter 10 in The Genius of One
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  • Kelly Bain

    “We choose to vibrantly go about life, soak it up, embrace it, and celebrate it, or we choose not to. No one else can make this decision for us.”
    ― John O’Leary from On Fire

    Your family and church body has been gifted with your honest vulnerability and matchless trust in Christ as our always present help, even when doubt/fear seems more logical. The road less traveled is always a trip. Thanks for sharing.

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