I’ll be honest here. I had absolutely no fascination with Steve McQueen.

I’d known about him since Wanted: Dead or Alive was a favorite of my father’s and so I was raised on a steady diet of the show. But, despite a couple of his movies being among my personal favorites such as The War Lover, The Great Escape, and The Sand Pebbles, I’d never been a follower of his. Indeed, there’s several movies of his I’ve never seen.

And the only reason I ended up with the book was that my church library had put it in the “Free books” bin and I saw that one of my favorite pastors to listen to, Pastor Greg Laurie, had written it.

I’d heard that before he died, Steve accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. The statement was almost always in passing and stated in a way that made it sound like it was after he’d been diagnosed with Cancer and the impression was that he was buying fire insurance and nothing more.

But if you really want to know why I read the book, it was the picture of Steve on the cover. It was his eyes that caught me. There was a questing in them, a longing to find something.

So I began reading the book.

I’d half expected nothing more than a biography of the man, and in part that’s what I got. But Pastor Laurie took that one step further. He followed the trail of this great actor from birth to death. He spoke with people who had worked with the man. Many said he was a difficult person to work with (no surprise there) and that several times he did more damage than good to his life. In some of the most interesting parts of the book, Laurie (driving a replica of the Bullitt Mustang) crossed America to where Steve was born, where he was raised, and in an emotional climax, to where he died.

Along the way, we met people who had grown up with him, served in the Marines with him, and even people who had had chance encounters with him. We spent several chapters with his wife, Barbara and learned about his last years on this Earth.

A statement that caught my attention was despite being a royal pain, he would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. That surprised me because of lot of his giving went unnoticed. The Bible tells us that when we give something, we shouldn’t shout it out or even draw attention to ourselves regarding it. Steve was doing that long before he became a Christian. One story tells of how they were shooting in a bad part of a major city. Some local kids recognized Steve and he spent several minutes throwing a football with them. The football was old and beat up. A few days later, a truck showed up with new sports equipment that got handed out to the kids in the area. No one except the people who had helped arrange this knew who had given it.

One thing that Pastor Laurie dispelled was the notion that Steve came to Christ AFTER he’d been diagnosed. NOTHING could be further from the truth. The seeds were being planted long before that. The people who told him about Jesus probably left thinking they were wasting their time. What they didn’t know was that in all his hell-raising, womanizing, drinking, and substance abuse, Steve was looking to fill a hole we all have. It took a pilot to water the seeds and bring in the harvest.

All this happened months before he received the diagnosis.

His faith didn’t waiver either. Facing death, he often visited other patients, prayed with them, and talked about Jesus being his Lord and Savior. He often wondered why that had happened to him after finding Christ, and I think he missed that at the very least, he gave those around him hope. When it comes my turn to die, I hope I can face it with his courage and the peace he expressed.

I don’t want to give too much away about the book since this odyssey opened my eyes on a man who I’d barely given a second thought. It also opened my eyes to things about Pastor Laurie I didn’t know. In both cases, these men got added to my list of people I’d go out of my way to meet (of course with Steve that’s going to require leaving this little rock called Earth).

This book is a voyage I’d recommend taking. It’s the life of not one, but two seekers who both found what gave their lives peace and meaning.

May your voyage turn as well as theirs.

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