It’s a journey, viewed in it’s entirety, that brings to mind Pilgrim’s Progress.
The story’s central character has captured national attention with his travels. He stops alongside the road, carrying only a plastic bag with sustenance discarded by others, and a backpack of clothing, flashing a peace sign as horns honk in passing and cars slow to a stop on busy highways for a chance to speak with him.
A humble man and repentant sinner, he listens intently as stories spill from the lips of seekers, and he stays until the last person is gone, as thousands cheer him on and pray for his protection and success.
A Journey Cut Short
In 2019 David Cruz had an epiphany that God wanted him to bicycle to California from his home in the Manhattan borough of New York City.
Under normal circumstances most people can’t just walk away from their jobs and families, but the calling was so strong, Cruz packed his backpack, spoke with his family, and in May 2019, set off from Queens, New York where he was staying at the time.
“About five years ago I found myself in a predicament where God got me to see that I needed his help drastically, so he sent me strangers to free me from danger. Being thankful, I started to sacrifice things. Four years ago I stopped smoking weed, stopped drinking, I stopped dating. Three years ago I stopped smoking cigarettes and I became a vegan. Three years ago I made a covenant and I told God that I know everything that I’ve done wrong in my life and that I will never do it again. I made a covenant and he started sending me on journeys across the country,” said Cruz.
The first assignment was to go to California.
“He told me one day, grab the bicycle that’s in the dining room and go to California. So I went, I bought two inner tubes for the tires and I left home with a backpack and I took off,” he explained.
It was at a remote truck stop in Oklahoma City that his bicycle and only means of transportation was stolen, and his first journey was cut short.
But God didn’t want David to give up, and he was instructed to continue his journey to California on foot. In disbelief, Cruz hopped a bus and headed home.
“I was supposed to keep walking the rest of the way to California but I didn’t make it because I wasn’t thinking straight. I wasn’t clear. I was very distracted with what was going on so I know Negativity, he took that bicycle on July fourth. There’s a significance to that date. That’s not coincidence that (happened) on July 4th in Oklahoma City. The truck stop wasn’t in the middle of a town or anything. It was a secluded truck stop,” he said.
“I was supposed to walk the rest of the way but I didn’t. I went back to New York City and I stayed there until November 11, 2020. Veterans Day 2020, God told me to go back, to go this time to Florida, walking. So I started walking.”
Hitting the Trail, Take Two
“When I got to Georgia a dream had reemerged from back in the days. The dream was that in my great grandmother’s house there was a lake of blood and there was a snake and an alligator that went into that lake. Right away I believed since God told me to go to Florida this time, I believed that it signified in Florida where the alligators exist, there was going to be a snake that would betray me and leave me in a pool of blood. And I believed my grandmother was the one trying to protect me from that, because it was behind my great grandmother’s house,” he said.
Determined to escape the dream’s potential consequences, he headed west.
“I made a conscious decision that I was going to go elsewhere and I didn’t go to Florida. From Georgia I went to Montgomery, from Montgomery I went to Birmingham, from Birmingham I walked towards Arkadelphia and then Tupelo and that way instead of going to Florida,” he said, conflicted by emotion and doubt.
“But God told me I was supposed to say ‘no weapon formed against me shall prosper’ and go into Florida but Negativity, I believe put that dream in my mind, just like he took the bicycle at the truck stop, to stop me from getting to where God told me to go,” said Cruz.
He sought to make a deal and placate the Lord with a substitute assignment.
“So I said to myself, ‘I’m going to go to California, it’s double the mileage’, and giving myself a justification on why I’m not going to Florida and I’m going to go to California. ‘It’s double the mileage, He should be content, satisfied with that’, you see? That’s what I told myself. But instead, because I went against what God told me, now I went through hell because I walked around the whole United States of America.”
Facing challenging conditions, Cruz walked through deserts and mountains, reaching what he calls the ‘four corners of the United States of America’ over a 14 month period, covering between 30-40 miles a day, before finally heading east.
“I did the four corners, went to New York and from New York I walked to Pennsylvania,” he said. “My grandmother had suffered a stroke so I ended up going over there to attend to her. I left from there March 13th of this year.”
Walk of Faith
While spending time with his grandmother, Cruz received another message.
“I got there January 2nd and I left March 13. That’s when God told me go to Miami. He said forget Florida, go to Miami. So I’m going to Miami and nothing’s going to stop me. No dream, no nightmares, nothing is going to stop me.”
Each time he’s been on a journey, it’s been a test according to Cruz.
“The first time I believe that God was, He was just seeing if I would obey and actually go to California, when He said so. But then Negativity stepped in. He’s the one that puts the hurdles in your life. He’s the one that puts hurdles so you won’t get to the blessings as easy as you should because they’re ordained by God. Your blessings, your purpose is ordained by God but he wants to put hurdles and stuff. That’s what I believe,” shared Cruz.
“The second journey I disobeyed God. I disobeyed and I didn’t go to Florida. I went my own route because that dream frightened me and I was trying to avoid the circumstances of that dream, so I ended up doing 14 months. I probably could have just gone to Florida and that would have been that. But instead I ended up going around the United States of America. Blizzards, hurricanes, I ended up walking on avalanches, all types of weird stuff.”
The third journey hasn’t been without it’s own challenges. Rooted in faith, Cruz has kept his promise to trust God for all of his needs.
“This time around He’s removing the doubt that He will provide for me. I don’t accept anything from anyone, not even my family. I can’t accept no money, no donations, no anything,” he said.
Until he reaches his final destination in Miami, he’s surviving on faith.
“God. God is the one. God is going to lead you out of the snares. All of those trials and tribulations, God is going to be your light to get you out of that.”
Cruz, a carpenter by trade in New York City, marked his 40th birthday on May 2nd while on the journey.
“The first time was to see my obedience, the second time it was to see if he could remove the fear because I would still not do what he told me even though I hear him telling me. Now this time, He said go to Miami. In Georgia, the same place where that dream had reemerged, that dream that made me go to Montgomery and Birmingham, and that way, this (walk) goes viral and it stopped me in my tracks,” he shared of the May 11 photo and his story that garnered more than 3,000 shares in one night.
“I couldn’t move for 2 weeks. Two straight weeks I was surrounded by people, telling the story. 15 hours a day in the parking lot every day. That was the situation. In the same place where the dream took place and detoured me, now this took place, this viral situation. So in my mind, you could look at the cup half empty or half full. Right away, my mind went to the Negativity and I said here he goes again trying to stop me from getting to where I’m supposed to be. The first time he took the bicycle when I was that close to where I was supposed to be. The second time he gave me that dream that detoured me. Now this time he made this go viral.”
Overwhelmed by the attention, Cruz still refused to give up.
“You know what happened? Because I was so determined, I already went through two trials and tribulations where I didn’t make it, I didn’t make it to the goal that God had placed, so this time I was extremely determined.”
Reframing the situation from overwhelming to supportive, Cruz embraced the people who came to give and receive faith.
“I see it as a unity thing,” he said. “He wanted to suffocate me with the situation but then I realized there’s so much activity happening because of this viral thing that happened, that everybody is coming in unity. There’s a lot of unity. I was standing in one place for 15 hours every day and people were crying, they were praying, singing, doing everything.”
“It’s awesome but at the moment it depends on how you look at it, you see? So at the moment, I sat back and said wow, I’m not going to make it to Florida. What he wanted was for me to rebel, go against that love, push away the love. That’s what Negativity wanted me to do. But then God whispered in my ear, ‘this is unity, use it as unity’, and I stood to 11, 12 o’clock at night until the last person left.”
Cruz has a message to share and the growing momentum behind his Walk of Faith is only increasing his reach and ability to deliver the message to a larger audience.
“Every time I get to the next state there will be a lot of activity just like this in a positive way because everybody knows that I have a message. When I was in Montana God told me something. When I was in Montana in 2021 God told me a message I should give to everybody. I’m going to tell everybody what He told me to tell them when this is over. When I get back to New York City. I’m assuming that’s when the journey’s going to end because by then I’ll go through the 48 states by then,” said Cruz.
Along the Way
Followers have flocked to find Cruz from across the nation, tracking him via a Facebook page. On Wednesday evening, Daytona Beach resident Evelyn Brown and her family were among the multiple people stopped to speak with him on the side of the road on US1 just outside of Bunnell.
“I have four boys, my oldest is serving in country right now, he’ll be coming home from Jordan next month, and I just think it’s an inspiration to young black boys,” she said.
“There’s so much rap going on, so easy to get caught up in the rap world, the things that’s negative around the world for the kids, and his story just inspired me. Instead of showing them 2Pac and Snoop Dogg, they need to see a man that’s determined, and has a story and a reason, and a motive, and trusts God. It’s something that you can’t see but to trust in the voice and let him lead you. It’s so amazing,” said Brown.
Working in St. Augustine for Instacart, when Orange City resident Justin Jones finished his deliveries, he headed south to find Cruz.
“To find healing, honestly. I heard about him on the internet. I made a bet with myself that if I ever run into him, I know that’s a sign from God it’s going to be alright,” said Jones. “I made it to him and I’m just speechless right now. It’s very inspiring.”
Cruz took time to speak with Crab Shack 386 co-owner Kiona Gordon and her son Jhaven, who is in recovery after a bone marrow transplant.
“Being a family of faith during our son’s medical treatment, David provided us with hope in seeing him walking the entire world by faith and trusting that our Lord will provide his every need, without accepting one thing from the thousands of people he has encountered during his journey,” said Gordon. “David is a true man of faith. He inspires us to remain faithful no matter our circumstances.”
The kinship Cruz inspires is accepted with pure humility, evident as he listens patiently to each person who crosses his path.
“I just feel like I’m one of God’s soldiers. I feel like God gave me this task because he gave me that message. I believe that God put me on this journey 100 percent, so I could help others. I have to be selfless in order to do this.”
“I just want to be adequate. Adequate to accommodate God’s plan. I’m just giving out a message.”
“Of course I miss my family but I feel like I have to accomplish this in order to be able to indulge with my family in this world. That’s how I feel, in order to indulge peace with them in this world.”