How else would you find a parking place?
– Rose Marie Miller
Just last night I finished reading a book called “A Praying Life” by Paul Miller. Being more of a thinker than a feeler, prayer can be difficult for me. I fall into all the same tendencies that plague Christians – a wandering mind, running through the list of needs/wants, doubting if it will even make a difference…
But this book has helped me at least keep more of an open mind in my day-to-day life, to turn to prayer regularly as though in a normal conversation with another person, a friend. Miller builds the foundation of the book through introspection observing that the more mature a believer is, the greater he realizes his need for God and thus his capacity for and reliance on prayer exponentially increases. In speaking to the intimacy of God and our utter dependance on Him, Miller writes a chapter centering on a quote of his mother. She responds to the argument that God does not care about the trivial things like parking places with the statement “How else would you find a parking place?”
Both of my sisters and my mother have a rare skin disorder because of which any friction on the skin or heat can raise blisters on all seven layers of their skin. So, I admit, our family has spent more time and energy praying for parking places probably than most. But the level of faith and dependance on God that is this woman’s legacy is convicting. I can be quite independent, and often I believe that I get myself through situations.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
– Phil 4.6
The day after I read this quote, I lost my ring. I had gone outside and fired up the bike to warm it up. As the engine ran I layered up, first my fleece then my scarf and helmet. The last things I put on are always my gloves, but for some reason I decided not to wear gloves that day. I have a set of three plain silver bands that have a bit of sentimental value because I got them at a Christmas market in Germany while my dad was stationed there while I was in college. They are a little bit big for my finger, but I wear them nonetheless, and they have survived four years abroad and many adventures. So I arrived at work – my fingers were a bit chilled from the ride – I pulled the gate open, parked the bike out front, went inside and started a pot of coffee, went around and pulled my bike in the garage, went to my office to retrieve my coffee cup, and as I started washing my mug in the sink I realized that one of the three rings was gone. My heart sank. I immediately stuck my hand down the drain (it has a large opening for the garbage disposal), and drew out nothing but slime and muck. Surely the ring had gone down the sink! So I waited for my boss, who is very handy, and I told him that I had dropped my ring down the sink. He took the entire garbage disposal apart, checked the trap and the piping and reported to me that it must have just swept through – it was indeed a very lightweight band.
My mind went back to this quote that I had read and reflected on the fact that God is involved in the small details of my life, so I prayed “God, please let the ring turn up”, even though I just knew it was down in the vast depths of waste that is the Denver sewage system. Every day that week, I kept an eye out as I pulled the gate – thinking maybe it had slipped off my finger while I was active, I scanned the parking lot out front and also my spot indoors. Every day I prayed that one little prayer. Then after a week I thought it was just gone. It’s not a big deal, it’s just a silly silver band. I even looked at new silver bands at the jeweler so as to move on! Then, this past Tuesday (two weeks to the day of having lost the ring), I was backing up against the curb in front of my house and as I was watching to not get my tire too tight against the concrete, I saw a silver circle in the pavement! It was my ring! It had been there long enough, and clearly I had driven over it with the car so it was actually embedded in the blacktop slightly, but there it was. Having been driven over, it has a slight bend to it now – you can see it in the picture. My perfect and constant reminder that God does indeed care about the small things, and He answers prayers, even after we have given up on them.
I have been praying for some pretty big and weighty things in my life the last few years. I have seen God answer some prayers in unthinkable, miraculous ways. And I have seen some prayers go unanswered. But God chose, through this small exercise in faith, to begin to build in me a more constant dependence on Him. He helped the widow find her lost coin, he helped the shepherd find his lost sheep and the lost son came home. What is your lost ring? Are you praying about it? Are you trusting God?