I was prompted to pray for a marriage today.
On my way home from church I had to make a stop at a store that I don’t typically go to.
Thinking about the personal prayer prompt I had been given earlier, my mind wandered as I walked into the store.
I specifically remember stepping away from the heat through the automatic-open doors and into the cool A/C as I considered several people I know who are experiencing challenges of all sorts. I also thought of several engaged couples I know and the unique stress of those months for the brides and grooms-to-be.
bored helpful employee asked me immediately upon entry if I needed help. “Nope,” I said. “I know exactly what I’m looking for.”
As I grabbed my items and went to the front to check out, a distressed woman spoke up from behind me directly to the cashier. She worriedly held a cell phone to her left ear, conversation halted.
Has anyone turned in a ring?
The compassionate cashier replied, “No ma’am…but I will call my manager.”
While the manager was summoned, and unfortunately affirmed that no ring had been turned in, the distressed lady murmured dejectedly to no one in particular, “It’s not the kind of ring that someone would turn in.”
My optimism kicked in and I found myself saying, “You never know.” And to make further conversation with her, ” Was it loose on your hand?”
Distressed Lady nodded. Phone still at ear. “It was less than 20 minutes ago.”
She left the store and I shook my head, making small talk with the cashier. “I couldn’t bring myself to ask if it was a diamond…poor thing.”
The cashier sympathized too. “I should probably not be wearing my ring at work. It could easily fall off into a customer’s bag.”
As I walked back outside the automatic doors, I felt that lady’s pain. I prayed to the God Who Sees. “Lord, you can see everything. If it’s possible, please allow me to help this lady find her ring.” My inner dialogue went like this:
Where did she even go?
Man this pavement is sparkly.
I guess I’ll take the crosswalk instead of walking right to my car in case that’s what she did too.
Did she maybe cut through the mulch?
I wonder what kind of ring it is…what did she say? A ring that someone probably wouldn’t turn in…
So is it maybe an engagement ring?
Wow…I never knew asphalt could be so glittery.
If she’s still here and I make it back to my car, how much longer should I stay to help her look?
Is she even still here?
About 10 steps away from the front of my car, in the wide open space between parking rows it materialized at my feet.
I knelt down grinning, knowing full well OF COURSE God would help me find it. Why wouldn’t He? Here. It. Is.
He sees. He knows. He cares.
The lesson I had just taught to the elementary kids at church that morning was about Paul explaining to the people in Athens who their “unknown God” is.
When I arrived here the other day,
I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across.
And then I found one inscribed, “to the god nobody knows.“
I’m here to introduce you to this God
so you can worship intelligently,
and know who you’re dealing with.
The lesson concluded with the encouragement that each of us can tell people what we know about God–some will listen and some will not.
I picked up the gorgeous three-stone ring, placed it on the first knuckle of my index finger and held it high over my head so that she could see me wherever she was in the parking lot, if she was still there at all.
“Ma’am?” I called looking right and left, hand held high, pointing skyward. I didn’t see her anywhere.
“YES?!” She yelled from a crouched position between two cars down the row a ways from mine.
“Is this it?” I knew it was. Without a doubt.
“SHUT IT!” She hollered as she raced over to me. It was almost too good to be true.
For almost half an hour her wounded spirit had searched against all odds, dwelling in the frustrated hope that it could be found and that until/unless it was, life as usual couldn’t continue. She was frozen in panic. Time and her heart stood frosty still, though simultaneously ticking away. Then, in the moment hope became reality I noticed the last dregs of her uncensored doubt fully register and then get tossed away. She was only steps away from her renewed treasure.
I could hardly contain my joy at this divinely orchestrated reunion.
She hugged me repeatedly.
Relief was everywhere.
Distress was nowhere.
Unrestrained joy was imminent.
My words gushed into her shoulder as she embraced me a second time. “I prayed!” For the benefit of us both–and whoever it was that was still on the frantic cell phone call I repeated as she thanked me with a look of pure gratitude and borderline disbelief, “I just want you to know that I prayed that God would help me find it! And He did!”
She put it back on and I asked to see it. I hadn’t really looked at it except to pick it up off the ground. It was back where it belonged on her left hand where I could admire it and wish her a hearty “Congratulations!”
I’m not only amazed at the God Who Sees helping me to see too, but also that I can count on Him to answer my prayer(s) for the people I had in mind as I walked into Walgreens. And for all the engaged people. And for all the married people. For us all to find our treasure and STAY ENGAGED.
May we ask for help when we need it.
May we tirelessly search for the treasure found only outside ourselves in others.
May we bravely share the treasure found only inside ourselves with others.
May we boldly and often pray to the GOD WHO SEES.
May we have the strength to accept when someone unexpected comes alongside to bring us out of distress.
And may we all stay engaged–with our Others and with our God.
What do you need to see today? Who can you ask to help you? Who can you help?