The Parable of the Lost Ring

ringI’m stationed in Little Creek, Virginia. I’m turning 21 and my parents have chosen to honor their son by driving down from Hilton, New York and celebrating his birthday with him.

I vividly remember the look on my Mom’s face as we were standing outside the barracks as she and my Dad presented me with a gift. It was a ring.

Not just any ring. In the Marines, it wasn’t uncommon to have a military ring bearing the crest of your particular branch of service. Similar to a class ring, it was distinctive and had a proud bearing about it.

My parents had opted to go the extra mile and have a ring made for me. Their financial situation wasn’t such where they could just proceed unhindered by the potential cost of said project. My Mom had to really search for, not just a ring that they could afford, but also an engraver that could engrave (by hand) the USMC emblem in a way that looked professional.

It was a special day and an exceptional gift. Since then, that ring has come off my hand only on very rare occasions and only for a brief moment of time. And you can understand why, given what that ring means – not just the way it represents my nine years of military service, but also the sacrifice and care that went into having that ring made.

About three months ago, I was coming home early one morning after having exercised and suddenly realized that my ring wasn’t on my finger. I immediately retraced my steps and made an intense search – desperately wanting to recover that ring. The fact that both my parents are now deceased and the way that made it even more of an heirloom and dreams of how one day I would hand it down to my son – all of these dreams and the special ways in which I regarded that ring – are all dissolving right before my eyes.

Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. Anytime I was cleaning up around the couch or making the bed, I would take a moment and look, hoping to find that ring.

It’s not that I ever gave up, but I don’t remember that ring ever coming off my hand. After a certain point, I had no idea where to even look.

Did I pray about it? Sure, I did! Not that it registered as a dramatic problem or a excruciating absence, but it was one of those things where you begin to categorize it in your mind as a miracle, should it ever be recovered.

New Years’ Eve, 2014. I know some might think of it as lame, but having played in countless bands whose job it was to provide the necessary grooves to appropriately ring in the New Year, I really enjoy getting a good night’s sleep and I was in bed, moments away from drifting off when my bride comes into my room with a big smile on her face. Knowing that I was going to be ecstatic, she asked me to put my hand out and gave me…

…my ring!

Sitting between the cushions in our couch, she was looking for the remote in order to cue up a show for the kids to watch and there it was.

I’ve looked for that ring and I’ve turned that couch upside down, hoping to find it and never did.

It’s amazing how something that seemed like a remote possibility a moment ago, when it happens, it’s tempting to forget how improbable it appeared just seconds before. The timing of finding that ring could not have been better in that it served as a great beginning to a New Year. Not just finding the ring, but being reminded that God’s Hand is neither limited nor restricted.

There’s people in the Bible who were healed of their blindness. Shoot, Lazarus was resurrected from the dead! Being able to recover a piece of jewelry that has a sentimental value attached to it is nothing in comparison.

But as far as I was concerned, recovering that ring necessitated the same kind of Effort. I was out of ideas and was already laboring to get accustomed to the idea of the ring being forever lost. And while there’s nothing especially “supernatural” about Michelle finding that ring, in my mind it was a Divine knock on the door nevertheless.

God’s aware of every aspect of my life. Everything from the dramatic to the trivial is laid out before Him (Ps 56:8; 139:16; Phil 2:13). My Heavenly Father doesn’t adjust the level of His attention to my prayers, as though only those things that are recognized as “crucial” merit a response.

But it’s encouraging in situations such as this where something that was important to me – even if it wasn’t a miraculous deliverance from something overwhelming – was still a welcome answer to a stack of memos I had placed on His desk. And I won’t look at that ring again without being reminded that it’s not just burning bushes or walls of water or blind eyes being made to see. Sometimes, it’s just a ring that was lost and is now…found!

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