Have you ever asked God to help you find your lost wallet, car keys, cellphone or ID book? Or do you believe that such prayers are too trivial to concern our creator?
Well, I must confess that I have often prayed for help in finding lost items and what is more I have taken great comfort from accounts I have heard of lost and stolen valuables being miraculously returned to their owners. In some cases, apparently, the missing items dropped out of the sky and into the owners’ hands.
So last night, when my daughter Helen and son-in-law Christopher arrived at our house with a sad tale about losing his treasured iPhone, I had no hesitation in asking Jesus to come to the rescue. The phone had last been seen some hours earlier when Christopher used it to photograph Helen during an enjoyable Sunday afternoon beach outing at Maitlands, near Port Elizabeth. Later, back at home they discovered that the iPhone was missing and that there was a small hole in the beach bag in which they had carried it. In vain they searched their house and car and tried calling the missing phone. So they drove back to the beach – a half hour trip – but it was already pitch dark when they got there, and the spot where the phone was last seen was a kilometre away along the beach.
After we prayed we all sensed a rise in our level of faith, and we decided it was worth embarking on a beach search without further ado. And so, armed with torches, my wife Val, Helen, Christopher and I drove out to Maitlands to seek the missing phone.
Maitlands beach is a magnificent, long and wide sandy beach flanked by big sand dunes. Our torch beams seemed lost in the vast blackness that stretched before us. In the distance we could see the lights of fishing boats as well as the town of Jeffreys Bay and the village of Blue Horizon Bay. Above we could see the glorious milky way and the air was filled with the sound of wind, waves and sea birds. As we set out Val and I had no idea just how far we would be walking that night.
Somehow we all believed that the phone must have fallen onto the sand at the moment it had been put into the beach bag after the photograph. We also believed it had not been picked up by any of the many people who had been on the beach that afternoon. But according to Helen it was hard to believe that this was the same beach they had enjoyed that afternoon. The torch beams were not strong enough to reveal the dune profiles in her memory bank. And so we trudged on, praying against the circumstances that seemed to mock our efforts.
Eventually Christopher declared that we must have walked further than the photo spot and so we turned back. Christopher walked ahead, sticking close to the dunes, searching for a distinctive log embedded in the sand. He had a mental picture of passing the log before photographing Helen. We had found a number of other driftwood logs along the way but not “the” log. But then Christopher called out from about 30 metres ahead of the rest of us that he had found “the” log. Helen had a phone with her and I suggested that she should call the iPhone. Because of the wind and sea noise and the fact that the iPhone battery was low, she had phoned the number very sparingly during our search. It was also thought that the i-phone was set on silent mode.
But Helen phoned the number, and, glory be to God, the iPhone lit up where it was lying, face-up on the sand, close to where Christopher was standing. He plucked it up happily and found that it was unscathed. We all thanked Jesus for this blessed answer to prayer.
A day later as I seek to write credibly about this experience, I ask myself: “Did Jesus help us to find the iPhone, the loss of which would have been a blow to Helen and Christopher?” I believe that Jesus did indeed gracefully help us. Okay, I cannot prove that it was not just our perseverence and a bit of “luck” that saved the day. But I can categorically say, that if the four of us had not prayed and shared the faith that Jesus would help us, we would never have set out on that improbable search. I can also say that soon after we arrived home a gale force wind came up and blew relentlessly through the night. If we had not acted when we did that phone would have been buried beneath the sand and impossible to find.
A verse that comes to mind is, Matthew 7:7 – “Ask, and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened.”
Read more articles by Andre Viljoen or search for articles on the same topic or others.