Going to take a little sidebar today . . .
Do you remember the parable in the Bible that Jesus taught about the woman and her lost piece of silver? It's found in Luke the 15th chapter. Jesus was being criticized for fraternizing with sinners. He gave the example of the woman having 10 pieces of silver and losing one of them. He said she would light a candle and sweep her house, seeking diligently until she found that one lost coin. And . . . when she found it, she called her friends and neighbors together for a party to help her celebrate her find! It was lost but now it's found! Jesus went on to say that the Kingdom of Heaven is like that, in that "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."
That story was brought home to me this past weekend. Not everything I own is worth a whole lot. And the worth of a possession is not always in its monetary value. (The woman in Jesus' example had 9 other pieces of silver, after all.) What something represents adds much more value than simply dollars and cents. Thus, pictures lost in a fire are, many times, the most devastating of all losses.
I lost something over the weekend that is extremely valuable to me . . . my wedding band. More than the considerable monetary value, my distress was caused by what it means to me. It's irreplaceable. Even if I had the money to replace the object, I wouldn't be able to replace the spirit of it, if you please. When my husband and I were first married, we couldn't afford some of the bare necessities, much less a ring. That fact, along with a few other extenuating circumstances of a totally different nature, determined that our ceremony did not include rings. On our 15th Wedding Anniversary, however, we renewed our vows. Like most married couples, we had had our ups and downs and ins and outs and had survived with renewed purpose to "make this thing work". I even wrote a letter to Focus on the Family about the event and what it represented. It was then that my husband gave me the wedding band that I wear today. It's beautiful. It is in the Anniversary style, yellow gold, with 11 channel set diamonds. Not as expensive as some, but certainly expensive by our standards. My cousin performed the ceremony, and he brought out a different meaning about the wedding ring than I had ever heard. Of course, we know that it represents the token of a covenant - which is what a marriage should be. Not a contract, but a covenant. Basically what he brought out was that, as we age, we lose physical beauty as well as ability, but when my husband sees that ring on my finger, it reminds him of his awesome responsibility to love and protect the bearer. It reminds him of beauty past - even when I have morning breath and "over-night hair" (LOL!). It reminds him that I am still the person whom he married in the beginning. It reminds him of why he married me. I guess you could say, it's my leverage!
So, you can imagine how I felt when I looked down at my hand during Sunday School while my husband was reading aloud in class participation! If anyone was looking, I'm sure I looked like I had seen a ghost! I kept myself from crying and I maintained my composure until he was finished reading and making his comments and then I reached over and quietly told him, "I've lost my ring." He immediately assured me, "We'll find it." And he got up and left. He searched the house: he said he didn't clean house like the woman in Jesus' story but he said he looked everywhere he could think I might have left it. He returned empty handed. After service, I asked him if he had checked our friends' car as I believed I had removed it to apply hand lotion while in their car going to eat with them. He went and checked. No ring. Finally, as a last resort, I asked him if he would take me to the restaurant, where we had gone, to look in the parking lot. I had called the restaurant and asked if anyone had turned in a ring to lost and found but to no avail.
My story does have a happy ending, thankfully! As we drove into the parking lot, I remembered exactly where we parked. I knew that if the ring had been in my lap as I got out of the car probably which direction it would've rolled. There was a car parked in the space next to where we had been. I told him, if it was in the parking lot it would be under that car. He said, "I guess you want me to get down and look . . ." "yes, unless you want to wait until they come out to leave." The car was very low to the ground and he basically had to lay down to see underneath it. "There it is!" Unbelievable! Right in the middle where it would not be run over and scratched up! Right in the middle so that no one walking by would see it! Our friend said, "You're lucky". I said, "I'm blessed"!
And so I know how the woman felt. I called my friends (although we didn't have a party, but we did rejoice!) And it also brings home the purpose of Jesus' story and how it applies in my life. I once was lost. But now I'm found! I know God values me so much more than a mere object of possession! He loves me. And He loves you.
Don't ever forget that!