Lesson 4 Faith: How to Ride an Escalator

Faith: You don’t have to know how it works to ride an escalator

“Escalators” Part 4


I stood in line at the airport entrance in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. A sign stated that the entrance fee was 50 Ethiopian Birr (about $1).

I paid the fee and pulled my suitcase into the renovated terminal hall. I stopped in amazement. There sat a gleaming escalator.

I’ve traveled through many African airports, small and large.

I thought I’d seen it all. At another small African airport, the flight schedule was written on a chalkboard.

I’ve watched farm boys chasing goats off the runway so we could land.

I’ve seen runway dogs trained to keep the Zebras off the tarmac.

But an escalator in Addis Ababa? I was intrigued,

If you know me, I’ve got an incurable curious streak. Sometimes, it lands me in trouble, but often, I’ve unearthed good stories by simply asking questions.

I found a skycap who spoke English. “Wow. When did y’all get that new escalator?

He smiled with national pride. “The moving stairs? It is the first and only escalator in all of Ethiopia.”

“That’s great. You should be proud of it.

He pointed at the escalator. “Sir, these moving stairs are the reason you had to pay 50 Birr to enter the terminal.”

“How so?”

“When the new escalator arrived, hordes of people came to see it.

Few people were brave enough to ride it. Most stood in rapt awe.

Soon, villagers were arriving by bus to see the magic moving staircase.”

I laughed. “Six Flags over Addis.”

He continued.. “The airport board was forced to enact a fee of 50 Birr to gain entrance to the terminal.

That’s more than most Ethiopians make in a day. The fee cut the foot traffic down.”

He smiled. “But they still line up at the plate glass window to catch a glimpse of  moving stairs.”

Ethiopian farmer putting in his crop.

I thought of how I was no different from those Ethiopians. I remember, as a child, holding my grandmother’s hand at Sears in Shreveport and seeing my first escalator. Grandmother Sid refused to ride, choosing the elevator instead.

I bravely put a foot forward and stepped aboard the escalator. It was a magical ride.

I understood how my Ethiopian friends felt when they stepped aboard. A sense of wonder. Something to cross off their bucket list.

We had another thing in common. We had no idea how the moving sidewalk worked.

We didn’t have to know all of the parts, belts, and pulleys, we just climbed aboard.

That’s how faith is.

If you stand at the first step and try to figure out how it all works, you won’t move forward.

You gotta have faith.

That’s how faith has worked in my life. I’ve learned to trust in the God who knows how it all works.

And He knows exactly where my personal moving stairs are going.

I’ve trusted Him for that guidance for over fifty years. He’s proven worthy of my trust.

I see no reason to change now.




Before you think I’m belittling Africans and their first-world lives, I remind you of this:


I live in a modern American city of 44,000. We have three escalators, and one is broken.

I can’t make too much fun of anyone’s moving stairs.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *