Summer is my favorite time of the year, hands down. The days are longer, the temperatures are warmer, and I love having my children off from school. My life takes on a much slower pace and I find myself resting more. However, if you know me, you also know I can only sit for so long before my need for productivity kicks in and I must find something tangible to accomplish.
A few days ago, I had enough lazing about and I decided to trim up the bushes in my yard. They were definitely overgrown and due for some love. My mom was visiting and graciously offered to help me. We headed out to the yard armed with garden gloves, hand clippers and pruning scissors. We looked like warriors embarking on a great mission to civilize the jungle.
My mother is a remarkable lady. At 78 years of age, she works as hard as I ever recall her working when I was a child. Her physical body is humming along pretty well overall but, her hearing has diminished. As a result, several years ago, she decided to invest in some high-tech hearing aids. These little sound-enhancing marvels are nearly undetectable when in her ears, but wow, do they make an incredible difference in her ability to hear. She wears them every day to do nearly everything, so it was not at all unusual that she would wear them to do one of her favorite activities, gardening.
After a full and productive day of yard work, my mom prepared to retire for the night and as is her custom, she reached into her ears to remove her hearing aids. She reached into one ear and pulled out one hearing aid but as she reached into the other, much to her surprise, one of them was missing! She felt again, nothing. She searched around room, the bathroom, the hall but the only thing that turned up was a sinking feeling in her stomach. She began to think back on her day and asked herself, “Did it fall out when I was working in the yard?”
My entire family began searching for the lost hearing aid as if it were Easter Sunday and we were on an egg hunt. My husband used a large hand-held flood light as we scoured the bushes for the mysterious little sound bite magnifier. As we rummaged around the neatly trimmed bushes, the scene became filled with irony as I thought about how our daytime work results had been so satisfying compared with our unsatisfactory nighttime search and rescue mission.
I began praying from the moment I realized the hearing aid was missing despite my initial twinge of hesitation. I didn’t want to “bother God” with such a small detail. Certainly, the missing hearing aid was minor on the scale of life problems! My dialog with God began with a quick and desperate, “God, please help me” prayer. You know, the one that sounds like, “Hey, sorry to bother you, I know you are really busy doing important big God stuff, but a little help would be great.” prayer. It’s the prayer I pray sometimes when I approach Him as if He is too busy for me and I am annoying Him. However, as the hunt for the hearing aid wore on my dialog deepened with Him. I reminded myself that God loves to hear from His children, so I stopped praying like I was pestering Him and started praying as a beloved daughter of His. I praised Him for being omniscient. I told Him I believed He alone knew exactly where the hearing aid was hiding (Deut. 29:29). I asked Him to be the Husband to the widow (my mom) and the Father to the fatherless (me) (Psalm 68:5). I even thanked Him that my mom had the resources to buy a replacement hearing aid if we did not find it. As I prayed, I sensed God’s listening ears which certainly did not need a hearing aid. As, I prayed on, a strange peace fell upon me considering the circumstances. We eventually called off our pursuit of the wandering hearing helper until we could see more clearly in the morning.
I went to bed perplexed but oddly hopeful. Around 4 am I heard thunder rumble in the distance and I asked God to push the rain somewhere else. By 5 am there was a steady rain pelting against my bedroom windows and I prayed “Lord, You know where the hearing aid is and You can even miraculously protect it from rain.” I must admit, even as I prayed the words, I realized how ludicrous they sounded. Did I really believe He would keep the hearing aid dry from the deluge of water falling from the sky? I eventually drifted back to sleep contemplating how water and electronic devices don’t mix well.
At 6:45 am, with a full mug of coffee in my hand, I walked to the front yard to find my mom had already resumed raking through the bushes, limb by limb. As I joined her efforts, our conversation took a spiritual turn. We dialoged about why we thought the Lord had allowed this set of circumstances to unfold. What was the lesson we could learn from it? What did He want us to understand about Him or ourselves through this? We tossed around some ideas but generally came up as empty as our search efforts for the hearing aid.
Finally, in a last-ditch effort, there was one last place we had not looked. We agreed to look in the backyard where my son had dumped the debris from our bush whacking efforts the previous day. There in the woods was a large, deep, twisted pile of plant remains staring at us. The task of searching through them seemed insurmountable and quite daunting. As we waded through the thick weeds to reach the discarded pile of plant parts, the parable of the lost coin Jesus told in Luke 15:8-10 came to my mind.
Luke 15:8-10 says this, “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
The lost coin parable is sandwiched between the story of the lost sheep and the prodigal son, but the message is the same in all three parables. Jesus communicated to His listeners how much He loves them and will stop at nothing to find them, save them and delight over their return to Him. I shared my thoughts with my Mom as we delicately lifted leaf by leaf and branch by branch to see if we could locate the hearing aid. We discussed how God often allows things for reasons we cannot understand, and I shared some thoughts from an apologetics book I was reading. As I rambled on a lengthy discourse about God and His sovereignty, all of a sudden, I heard something drop that most certainly was not plant based. I looked down and there it was, the mischievous, little hearing aid. “I found it!!” I shouted at my mom, at a decibel that any deaf person could hear, to which my Mom shouted back, at similar volume, “Praise God!”
The experience of losing my mom’s hearing aid has caused me to ponder two things; the importance of prayer and God’s incredible love for me (and you). When we realized something significant was missing we began searching for it with abandon. We looked inside and outside. We searched in the dark, damp night and the bright morning sun. We traipsed into the bug infested woods and dug through the rubbish. We did not stop until we found the prized lost possession and when it was found we rejoiced. This is a way to picture the kind of love God has for us. He loves us enough to pursue us because we are so valuable to Him. Do not believe you are not worth searching for or that God has given up on a relationship with you. He will not abandon looking for you and when you are reunited all of heaven will rejoice with Him. You are loved beyond measure.
Additionally, I was reminded of the importance of prayer. I have always known God hears my prayers but when He answers me I am often caught off guard. I so appreciate that God is not offended by my lack of faith nor my resistance to approach Him for fear He is too busy for me. He is always there, ready to help me, and I believe whenever possible it delights Him to give me what I ask for as long as it is in accordance with His will. He knows I am just dust and knows from time to time I need to see my faith strengthened by what I can see. God even answered my seemingly crazy ask and kept the hearing aid safe from the rain because it was buried deep in the pile of debris. It was protected and dry when we found it and worked immediately.
God loves us and hears us. These two statements when experienced first-hand are mind bending and life altering. May your faith be strengthened as you ponder them for yourself.
Much love, Brenda