Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lost and Found

Have you ever done something so incredibly stupid that as soon as you did it you knew it was a big mistake, but then it was too late to do anything about it? I had one of those moments while Robbie Lee and I were vacationing in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We were swimming in the Albemarle Sound with this huge inflatable raft and having a great time. The raft was big enough to hold about three people so we were just lying on our backs, floating with the current and soaking up some sun. Then Robbie Lee decided she wanted to get her head wet and handed me her prescription sunglasses to hold.

“Whatever you do, don’t drop my glasses,” warned Robbie Lee. “They’re the only ones I have.”

“What do you think I am?” I asked. “I’m perfectly capable of holding your sunglasses without dropping them for heaven’s sake.” I was highly insulted that she would even question my ability to hold on to her glasses without dropping them in the water.

Suddenly I got the idea of putting the sunglasses on the floating raft for safe keeping while I dunked down in the water as well. It was a very warm day and the cool water was very inviting. When I came up out of the water I grabbed hold of the side of the raft and jumped on top of it. As soon as I landed I saw Robbie Lee’s sunglasses go flying off into the big blue sky above. They seemed to just hang in the air for a split second while I sat helplessly on the raft, unable to reach them. It was as though God just held them there for a moment to say, “What were you thinking?” I immediately realized the stupidity of my act, but there was nothing I could do.

I watched as the glasses finally dropped into the dark waters of the sound and disappeared. As I sat there on the raft, bobbing up and down on the water with my mouth hanging open, I heard an ear piercing scream, “a-a-a-ah! What have you done? Why did you jump on the raft? I told you to hold onto my glasses, but no, you put them on the raft and then jumped on it? How dumb can you be? I’m going to . . .”

I slid off the raft to distance myself from my angry sister. She looked like she was willing to sacrifice my life for her glasses and I didn’t want to take any chances.

“Don’t worry,” I reassured her. “I think I know where they landed. We’ll find them.”

Of course when I turned to look in the general direction of where I thought I saw the glasses go into the water everything looked different. We had drifted from the spot a bit while Robbie Lee was threatening my life. Yet I knew we had to try to find the glasses because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my vacation with Robbie Lee squinting at me while gritting her teeth.

I ducked my head down into the water with my eyes open to see if I could spot the glasses, but with no luck. The water was too dark to see anything at all. When I came back up for air, there was Robbie Lee standing with her hands on her hips, glaring at me. I dunked back into the water for fear she might try to strangle me and leave my dead body floating in the sound. When I came up for air again Robbie Lee was smiling at me. The smile was even scarier than the teeth gritting expression she had before.

“If we can’t find the glasses, it’s okay,” she said in a calm voice. “I just remembered I have a spare pair with me.”

“You do?” I asked with enthusiasm and relief.

“Yes,” answered Robbie Lee. “They’re on your face.”

My eyes opened wide. I had broken my prescription sunglasses a while back and borrowed an old pair of Robbie Lee’s to wear until I could get mine fixed. Her prescription was slightly different from mine, but my eyes had adjusted to them. Now she was threatening to take them back and I would be the one with the squinty eyes for the rest of the vacation.

“We have got to find those glasses,” I said with panic in my voice. "We can find them if we concentrate. They’re here somewhere.” 

“Are you praying?” asked Robbie Lee. 

“Praying?” I asked. I hadn’t thought about praying for God to help us find the glasses. After all, when you do something so colossally stupid, it doesn’t seem right to then ask God to help you out of the situation. 

“Let’s pray and ask God to help us find the glasses,” said Robbie Lee.

We stopped our search and said a quick prayer and then resumed our search again. I have to admit that even though we prayed, the situation looked hopeless. To find a pair of glasses at the bottom of a great big body of water would take nothing short of a miracle, but in my heart I decided to boost my faith level up a notch and believe God would come through for us. 

I got down on my knees in the water and started scraping my hands along the bottom. I had no idea if I was even close to the spot where we were originally, but it was the only thing I knew to do. Suddenly I felt something hard hit my hand. “A seashell or a rock probably,” I mumbled. I grabbed the object and pulled it up out of the water. It was a broken shell. I sighed and kept on moving.

“Are you still praying?” asked Robbie Lee as she searched the water.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m praying,” I said half-heartedly. It just seemed like a futile exercise. The sound was too big and the glasses were too small. Just then, as I was dragging my hand along the bottom, my fingers came to rest on something. “Another shell or broken glass,” I mumbled. I pulled up the object and as the sand washed away and much to my surprise, there were the long lost sunglasses. I had to blink a couple of times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

“I found them! I found them!” I yelled to Robbie Lee.

Robbie Lee pushed her way through the water to make her way over to me. I proudly handed her the glasses. She wiped the sand away and put them on her face.

“I can’t believe I found them,” I said with excitement. 

“You didn’t,” corrected Robbie Lee, “God found them. You lost them.” 

Robbie Lee waded out of the water back to our house and left me standing there alone. She was right. God actually answered our prayer. What were the chances that I could put my hand on something so small in that vast body of water? I whispered a “thank you” to Him and followed Robbie Lee back to the house.

Sometimes we feel so small compared to everything else in the world going on around us. We wonder how God can even care about what is going on in our lives with so many other people in the world. There are wars and floods and earthquakes happening every day. So why bother God with the small stuff in our lives?

We are not the first to ask this question. David asked the very same thing in Psalms 8:3-4, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” 

It’s hard for us to imagine that God would even give us a passing glance in the scheme of things. Yet he made us stewards of the earth and its inhabitants. He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us and to be resurrected to take away the sting of death, giving us a way to eternal life.

Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

The Scripture says, “Whatever we ask for.” This does not distinguish between big or small. We are anything but insignificant in God’s eyes. God is interested in the smallest details of our lives, even a pair of sunglasses at the bottom of the Albemarle Sound. How great is our God?

Excerpt from "Life is a Buffet So What's On Your Plate?" Copyright © 2009 by Polly D. Boyette "All Rights Reserved."

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