There are some books you pick up and you know from the cover that it will be a fun, feel good story. Then you begin to discover the back story, and you realize you are in for more than you bargained. Rich’s Ride, by Rich Dixon, is one of those books. Rich is a former math teacher who suffered a horrendous accident in 1987 that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Twelve years later he began to use a hand cycle to determine what could be. Rich’s Ride is a book about two primary things: living out God sized dreams and realizing that hope changes what’s possible. This is Rich’s second book. The first, Relentless Grace, chronicles Rich’s journey of despair, depression, and fear after his accident–and the transforming power of the grace of God. This book picks up on a dream in the making that, over time, becomes a reality. And now this dream takes transforming grace and extends it around the world.
Rich’s Ride is the narration of a literal 1500 mile journey down the path of the Mississippi River from the headwaters in Minnesota to New Orleans on a hand cycle. Rich is joined, and amply aided, by Becky, his wife, and Monte, Rich’s service dog. All three play necessary, life changing roles in this eight week journey of faith and hope. There are three sections to Rich’s book. Section One-Origins of a Dream take us back to the very first day Rich tries to use a hand cycle and the pain and frustration of failure. But it is the beginning of a God sized dream stirring within him that slowly begins to germinate and leads to an eventful day for a man, a wife, and a service dog that will have profound implications. Section Two-The Journey Begins provides us with the eight week, 1500 mile journey. This is not so much a journal rendering of the trip as it is lessons learned. Rich gives us poignant Instagram photos of delight, challenges, encounters, scenery, soulful introspection–and lessons–life lessons–for all of us. Section Three-Aftermath provides a challenging take on success, and challenges each of us about being sensitive and searching toward our God sized dream. Together, the three sections tell of a couple and a cast of committed friends that come together to sponsor a dream and a ride that will benefit Convoy of Hope, a charity that seeks to meet the hunger needs of children in the U.S. and around the world.
Rich does an amazing job of capturing you with the clarity and color of the journey. He then does something sneaky and continuously salts you with theological truth and biblical wisdom. I found myself pausing over and over again, having to reflect and consider the biblical principle that just sideswiped me. Here’s an appetizer:
Dreams invite us to pursue a bigger purpose that we can imagine on our own. Following a dream means leaning on God for what seems impossible. You follow a dream with hope that allows you to believe despite the evidence, and then watch the evidence change.
I found my faith being fed by digesting this book. In my book, Rich Dixon is an amazing man. But don’t tell him that. My hunch is he will simply point to a simple, humble obedience to a God-sized dream and offer you hope. In a day when it is easy to find Christian books that tell you what you want to hear, Rich’s Ride will draw you in and give you what you need to hear. This is a great book for personal reflection and challenge and it is a great book to give away.
Rich’s Ride is more than a book. The dream has continued with a ride that benefitted the International Justice Mission and a new ride begins in Florida on January 28th to once again benefit Convoy of Hope.
You can learn more about Rich, Becky, and Monte (the ever loving service dog) by going to the Rich’s Ride web site. You can also pick up both of Rich’s books there and get the details of their impending ride in Florida. You can also follow Rich and Becky on Twitter and on Facebook.
Go to the Rich’s Ride web site to grab several copies or go to Amazon for a Kindle version. You will not be disappointed. As a matter of fact, you might discover the birth of a God sized dream.