I lifted the side flap on the canvas lunch bag. The pocket was empty. I had stashed my phone, car keys and watch in there when we went to the beach. I unpacked the trunk of the car. Soggy, sandy towels, sandy beach toys, and sandy half-eaten lunches rounded out the contents. Where was my watch? I know I had put it carefully in this pouch, but now it was no longer there and no where to be found.
I dumped out my entire purse and pawed through wallet, receipts, gum wrappers and warm lip sticks. No watch! I guess it’s possible I put it somewhere else….but I knew I hadn’t.
We all showered the salt water off of our bodies, wrung out our bathing suits and got dressed for dinner. When I told my family about the missing watch, everyone jumped up and helped me search through the car trunk and under the seats, several times asking about the last time I had seen the watch. The watch had been given to me as a graduation gift from my family for finishing my degree just last year. It was special to ALL of us. My eyes filled with tears thinking that it might be gone forever.
The tide had been coming in when we had left the beach a few hours earlier. Upon arriving to the beach we had placed our towels about 100 feet from the edge of the water. By the time we left, it was a mere 5 feet away from our gear. No one remembered anything being left on the sandy beach. If it was on the beach, it was now under the salty water and undoubtedly ruined.
The only place it could be was the parking lot where we had left our car. “Let’s drive back before getting dinner. It’s only 15 minutes away,” my husband said. I was relieved that he had suggested it knowing how hungry everyone was and not wanting to delay our dinner any more.
We drove the 15 minutes in silence. I was silently praying for a miracle. When we arrived at the parking lot, three people on bicycles were resting at the entrance of the parking lot where we had recently parked. All three were in our way, in the exact spot where we needed to stop. Ken courteously waved them by and two of them moved on. The third person waved us through. Ken pulled in to the left of where we had parked our car. The parking lot was nearly empty. We all anxiously jumped out of the car, heads down, frantically scouring the ground for the watch.
At the same time, the woman on the bicycle came driving over toward us. “Are you looking for…..” Her sentence was cut off as I pounced on my watch, its gleaming silver edge protruding from the sandy driveway. The watch had been run over and was on level with the soil which was, thankfully, sand! I couldn’t even speak! I just held it out in disbelief and joy!! “I saw it just as you arrived“, the woman shouted, joyful as well that we found my prize possession! We yelled our thanks as she drove off.
Our eight-year-old grandson was so pleased and surprised. Unbeknownst to me, he and his Papa had prayed together that the Lord would lead us to the watch minutes before we departed on our search. He was able to see the answer to his prayer in 15 short minutes.
We prayed AND we looked! Two actions. What would have happened if we had only prayed? What if we had just looked? I’m not sure what the results would have been. Had we delayed even 30 seconds later the watch would have been innocently picked up by one of the bicyclists and carried home. We would never had known its story.
This reminds me about the woman in the Bible who had 10 coins and loses one. She lights a lamp, searches for the coin, then rejoices when she finds it. We don’t read that she prayed, but she looked and she celebrated as we did. Luke 15:10 says “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Every month several people groups receive the Bible, newly translated, in their own language. It may not previously been prayed over by the people, since they didn’t know what they were missing, but someone prayed over that language. Someone worked and gave them the ability to find out the way of salvation. It is theirs for the choosing. And when they find it, there is rejoicing in the presence of angels.
Thank you for making that possible. You do it month after month. Your prayers, your gifts, your hope, your action.