I’m searching intently in a dark, pleasantly cool, grassy school yard, panning a flashlight to and fro. We’d had a church outing here earlier in the evening, a time of fellowship, food, and fun. There was frolicking too, maybe a bit too much. The teens had a great time, that is, until Tim lost the ring. It wasn’t his class ring; it was his girl’s. To make matters the worse, he’d been all over the grounds and had no idea where it could be.

The search commenced, and we looked everywhere, confident at first, but our confidence waned as the enormity of the school yard dwarfed the tiny ring. I remember Tim’s description: a small woman’s class ring with a pink stone. It could be near his car—no. It could be lying on the parking lot—no. It could be mixed up with some gravel or in the playground dirt—apparently not. It could be…in the grass—oh no.

As evening fell, Tim called the search off. He knew he’d have some explaining to do and had no idea how his girlfriend was going to handle it. We all went over to his house afterward to share in his suffering. There was little to be said to console him; he was supposed to guard and protect that token of teenage romance—that sign of commitment. As one of his youth leaders, my heart when out to him.

This happened in my single days, those days of infinite personal time. I drove back to the school for another look, and I didn’t hold out much hope. Well into the night, my only search aids were a flashlight and distant street lighting from the parking lot, neighborhood and highway. Mentally, I tried placing Tim in the places I saw him in the yard, and hoped there to pick up a glimmer of a dropped ring in my light beam. Why am I doing this? And it wasn’t long before my mind wandered to other interests, the work week ahead and my projects. But I am a determined person, and a big part of me loves success. So I kept hunting.

Pray. The thought popped into my mind to pray. Does God answer a prayer like that, I asked? Pray. God, do you care about little things? Pray. Alright, Lord, I’ll pray. This was a strange thing for me to pray about. I thanked God for food, prayed for sick people and missionaries, you know, the usual stuff. Pray for personal help finding a ring? The Lord of the Universe, I surmised, has a lot to worry about. Alright, Lord, if you care about the little things, please help me find Tim’s ring.

I was far out in the field when I prayed this, and started back toward the school and my truck. I had decided this would be the last look, and carefully scanned amongst the grass blades with my light. When I neared the parking lot, I sighed. Maybe I over-spiritualized the whole affair. And then, startled, I saw a tiny flash of pink reflecting back at me. Was it the ring? I honed in on the source, and there it was, in a transitional patch of grass clumps, dirt, and loose rocks, the pink zircon beckoning me! Wow!

It was easy to discount this as coincidence, except my life experience since has borne out a different conclusion. It was Jesus who said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31) I’ve come to realize that our God is Sovereign, knows everything, and we matter greatly to Him. He asks us to trust in Him, to be dependent on Him.

Back in 2009, my wife and I were working in the kitchen doing her “once a month cooking”. It was late; I noticed she had set her wedding band and engagement ring on the counter. With her sensitive skin, cooking sessions are hard on her hands, and I think the metals in the ring exacerbate the irritation. Anyway, I eyed the ring and thought I’d pocket it to take it to her jewelry box for safekeeping.

Come the next morning, I remembered the ring. Oh rats! Quickly, I checked pockets, jewelry box, retraced steps, checked outside (I had taken out the trash)—everywhere I looked, no ring. I told my wife, who with greater natural optimism than I have, expressed that it would surely turn up. I get obsessed with things like this. I had progressed from the usual-suspects search and prepared for the turn-the-house-upside-down search, when, again, I heard the Voice inside say, Pray. I’ve been here before, haven’t I, Lord?

Would you help me find the ring, Father? Check the garbage. Uh, no, I wouldn’t be so nuts as to throw the ring away, and in that garbage? The kitchen garbage, after once a month cooking, is a real treat. Empty meat packages, raw meat scraps, and other goopy by-products of the mass cook off await the hapless seeker. But I’m learning to listen and obey, so, ready to eat crow (because I didn’t throw that ring away!) I donned rubber gloves, went outside to the garbage can, and dug into the trash. Halfway down, there it was, the precious ring set I’d bought and placed on my bride’s finger almost sixteen years before.

When we Christians say that Jesus is Lord, we mean he is Lord of All. Scriptures remind us that the whole universe holds together at His command. Everything that has been made was made through Christ. In Him, we live and move and have our being. He tells us to pray without ceasing and to abide in Him. He is Lord of All, and that means He is Lord of the rings too.

Does He answer every prayer I pray the way I hope? No, He doesn’t. Everything happens in accordance to His will. But when we pray to our Father, and we come to Him with faith like that of children, His love and embrace and help are there. He walks with us through every moment of our lives. He wants us to take all things to Him in prayer, even the little things.


Photo Credit

“Human standing outdoor at night with flashlight and hoodie on head” by Joachim Bago on 123RF Stock Photo (Licensed)