I went to my first Way Ministry fellowship around December of 1985, took my first Foundational Class in the summer of 1986, and took the Advanced Class in the summer of 1988. My life has been abundantly packed with God’s grace and blessings throughout all these years as a result of the how-to teachings of God’s Word by The Way Ministry. Yet, through all these many amazing blessings, there has been one theme that shines through when I consider my personal relationship with God. And that is in the category of finding something important that has been lost.
I believe the precedent for this aspect of my relationship with God was set in 1988 when I went out as a Word Over the World (WOW) Ambassador. I worked for a car dealership, detailing cars. I was twenty years old. Perhaps my most prized possession at this time in my life was a gold and sapphire high school class ring my mother had bought for me when I was in tenth grade. She knew I’d loved the class ring design since I was a small boy, and it was a big financial challenge at that time for her to buy this for me. When she gave it to me, she asked me to promise that I would wear it and that I would not give it to “some girl” to wear or put on a necklace. I promised this to her and kept that promise. I wore that ring every day for years until it didn’t fit anymore.
So, one morning I went to work. As usual, I changed into my work clothes on arriving. I had been advised not to wear the ring at work because some of the chemicals could damage the gold. I removed the ring and put it in the left front pocket of my street pants and hung them on a hook where we changed clothes, and I went to work. When the work day ended, I headed home, excited to see what the rest of the day would hold.
I arrived to find my fellow WOW Ambassadors not at home, and shortly after I came in, I realized I wasn’t wearing my ring. My mind often works with pictures. I immediately pictured putting the ring in my pocket. I’d not changed out of my work clothes before leaving work that day, so I went to my bedroom and got the other pants. But when I reached into the pocket, the ring was gone. I felt a familiar lump in my throat. I can’t recall if I prayed the first time then or after I went to my car, but I went out and searched my car for the ring. I crawled down on the floorboards, looked under the seats, searched front and back and in the cracks of the seats. No ring.
I went back inside, trying to calm myself, speaking in tongues, and focusing on believing to find that ring. As I considered this, the experience of another believer came to my mind. My brother had recently gotten married. He and his wife married on the East Coast and promptly moved to California. His wife had a set of china. She really loved it, but it was missing one of its eight bowls. She planned to try to find a replacement. As they prepared to move, she packed up the china and mailed it to her mother in the Midwest, who would then mail it on to California when the time was right. Meanwhile, my sister-in-law began to look for a replacement bowl. She checked stores, suppliers, and even the manufacturer. She learned that the pattern was no longer being sold. Deciding she’d done all she knew to do, she prayed to God and told Him she’d done all she knew and gave it to Him, confident He would provide her a solution.
When the china arrived at her mother’s house, her mother decided to unpack it and make sure nothing was broken. When she did, do you know how many bowls were in that box? Eight! That’s right, eight.
This memory of her experience came to my mind. I’d been very amazed by it at first. But the more I’d thought about it, the more it didn’t strike me as unexpected. After all, our God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. He made our bodies from dust. He loves us and wants to care for us. How hard is it for God to make a bowl? Did God know where my ring was? Of course He did. He knew exactly where it was. Was God capable of taking my ring from wherever it was and putting it in a new place? Easily.
So, I prayed. I said, “God, thank You for bringing my ring back to me. I want You to take that ring from wherever it is and put it on the hump on the floor in my car.” I drove a 1981 AMC Eagle station wagon. Like other rear-wheel drive cars back then, there was a big hump on the floor between the floorboards of the two front seats. This is where I told God I’d like Him to put my ring. I picked that location for two reasons: first, because it was a very prominent and easy-to-see place, and second, because I knew it was impossible that I could have overlooked the ring if it had been there before, and that if I found the ring there, no one and nothing would ever talk me out of knowing that God had answered my prayer and that a miracle had occurred.
After praying, I went out to my car again—the car I’d searched with a fine-tooth comb just a few minutes before. When I opened the door, my eyes went right to the hump near the front seats, and there was my gold and sapphire class ring, just sitting there on the carpet! I was electrified!
I often think about Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” That day I had proved to myself what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God, and nothing could ever talk me out of what happened that day. I was not only convinced that God knows where every single thing in the world is, but I was also fully persuaded that if one of those things was important to me and I lost it, God would make sure I got it back. This experience set a theme that repeated many times in my life.
A number of years later, my wife and I were expecting our fourth daughter. While my wife was on an errand, I started to put the crib together. My helper was our youngest daughter, who was five at the time, though today she is an Advanced Class graduate. The crib had two steel rods that ran up and down, holding the side on. Without these two rods, it was impossible to put the crib together at all. As I worked, I realized I couldn’t find either of those rods. I called my wife and asked if she knew where they were. She did not.
So, I was praying and searching, with my five-year-old following me as I did. At one point she said, “Think about where you saw it last.” I chuckled to myself at that. It’s what I taught her, what I said to her any time she lost something. It was the first thing I always did when searching for something. I’d actually already done that but had discounted it because it provided no help. So I continued to search, circling back to places I’d already looked at least once before. Now my daughter said, “If you believe, you will find it. If you don’t, you won’t.”
That made me stop. She was exactly right. Believing is action. What action could I take that I’d not already done? I thought of her first admonition. I could clearly picture where these rods were the last time I remembered seeing them. But the reason I’d discounted this information originally is that we’d moved about a year earlier, and the place I could picture them was in the basement of our old house, just through the door to the unfinished portion of the basement, sitting on a two-by-four that formed part of the wall, and leaning against a wall stud.
But this was the last place I remembered seeing it. Some might have thought it far-fetched, but I took my daughter and buckled her in her car seat, and we went for a drive over to our old house. I knocked on the door and proceeded to explain the strange reason for us being there and asked the young man if he minded if I checked the basement for the lost item. He invited us in. We went down the stairs, and as he was searching in the dark for the light switch, I could see the door to the unfinished portion of the basement. I just opened the door and reached into the dark beyond and wrapped my fingers around those two metal rods sitting exactly where I remembered them sitting. My daughter and I drove home talking about how great God was!
God physically moved something lost and gave it back to me. God also worked in the household, even in a small child, to bring me to lost things. And this last example is when God communicated by revelation to show me where a lost thing was.
A friend had been visiting, and he told me he’d lost his keys. He thought they were in our family room. I went and searched quickly but didn’t see them in any obvious place. Then I prayed. Before I even finished my prayer, I heard a faint electronic beep. I opened my eyes and turned in the direction of the sound. I heard it again. My eyes went to a pair of boots. I walked over to the boots and stuck my hand down into one of them and grabbed the keys. I pulled them out and immediately noticed that there was nothing on that key ring that was electronic, nothing capable of making any kind of sound.
I just smiled to myself, realizing that God had produced a sound for me that I associated with a car to show me where the keys were. How amazing is our God? God’s faithfulness to me over the years in this small category has greatly built my believing in all sorts of other areas. If God is willing to care for me in such a simple area, what else would He do for me? This is a question I’ve often asked myself over the years. Seeing that question answered over and over again has been a great personal joy and a big part of my growing personal relationship with my loving heavenly Father.