It was a beautiful, warm and sunny Sunday afternoon, so we went for a walk in the woods with my son Josh and his little family.
About halfway through, I noticed that one of my hearing aids was missing. Instantly I realized what had happened: I’d been carrying my smallest grandson on my shoulders, and when I put him down, the hearing aid was dislodged. It had fallen off at that point, or somewhat later.
My first reaction was natural, “Oh no!” for this was an expensive item. But the Holy Spirit immediately prompted me to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving: “Thank you, Lord, for allowing this. I pray that you’ll help me to find it, as you know where it is. And if I don’t find it, I’ll praise you anyway.” I then retraced the several hundred yards we’d covered, looking carefully among the leaves for the missing item, but to no avail.
As I was searching, the Spirit reminded me of how our car had been stolen shortly before we moved to Germany in 2009. I had looked for that, too, but again, to no avail. We’d hoped to sell it and buy a car in Germany, but, as you may remember, the Lord had something much greater in mind for us.
He not only supplied a car for free through our new friends, Dr. Chris and Melanie, but they also paid for the insurance, taxes, repairs and all our fuel for the whole 3.5 years we were there!
But much more importantly, the Lord gave opportunity to share the gospel with Dr. Chris, answering all his questions, so that near the end of our time there, he came to Christ. That was certainly worth losing my 15-year-old rusty car for!
So, what does God have in store through this loss? I don’t know yet, but we shall see!
I returned to join my family, again looking carefully as I retraced my steps and then we all looked again as we walked back home–but no hearing aid. I returned later in the afternoon with a magnetic stick and swept through the leaves, but nothing. The next morning, I brought a young friend who is really good at finding things—but again nothing.
Each of these fruitless searches was another chance to trust God in praise. He certainly knows where that hearing aid is, but, has chosen not to show me. I don’t know what He intends to do with this, but I can trust Him to know and to reveal it at the right time.
It is so good to relax in His love, to let go of what is temporal (it belonged to God anyway), to hold on to the truth of His goodness and grace, and to rise above the situation.
As it says in Hebrews 12:1-2, remembering that I am surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, I am told to lay aside every weight (sadness at the loss) and the sin that so easily entangles me (worry, fretting, anger) and run with patience and perseverance the race He has set before me, looking to Jesus (not to people, possessions or success), the Author and Finisher of my faith (He will carry me through).
Then, following His example, for the joy set before me (of being His child, of having Him as my Shepherd, of His protection and provision, of a certain future, of spending eternity with Him), I can endure whatever cross (loss) may come and despise whatever shame I may feel (for my failure to find it), knowing that I will be set down in heaven with Him.
What a freeing, empowering perspective! I encourage you to pray that passage for yourself every day for a month and see what God does! And I will wait to see His further purposes in this adventure of loss.
[Epilogue: I never did find the hearing aid, but the Lord provided money to pay for a new one in an interesting way. A friend was unable to sell his pickup truck, so I bought it to help him out, then was able to resell it with enough profit to pay for both a new hearing aid, and a crown from my wife’s tooth! God has it all in hand, if we will only cooperate: “He who offers the sacrifice of praise, honors me, and opens the way that I may show him the salvation of the Lord.” Psalm 50:23]