I recently rented an underwater metal detector – a first for me – from a local scuba diving shop and helped my youngest son with an important search. He was swimming in a lake in a city park in Columbia, Mo., where he lives, and lost his wedding ring.
It would have been difficult for anyone, but Josh had only been married for six weeks. Replacing the ring was not an option he wanted to consider. It was not just the replacement cost, but the idea that he would not have the special ring Sabrina had given him.
When we arrived at the city park and I saw the lake, I was not very optimistic. It was a pretty large swimming area filled with lots of children and adults enjoying the sun and water. It had been two days since the ring had slipped off his hand. While he knew generally where we should begin our search, it was clear the activity in the lake could have moved or buried the ring.
We spent almost two hours with the metal detector identifying pieces of earrings and other metal objects. Sometimes we were never able to find an object even though the detector indicated something was there. The water was so dark that we had to have our snorkeling masks almost on the bottom to see.
We took turns holding the detector and diving. We were both getting a little discouraged. I sent Josh down a second time to search a location that beeped loudly on the metal detector even though the first effort did not result in a find.
Suddenly, he began kicking and then exploded out of the water. He screamed, “I found it!” He said he was about to surface because he had been down as long as he could hold his breath. He brushed his hand over the area a final time revealing the outline of a ring. When he grabbed it, he knew it was his ring. We had a great celebration.
Our experience reminded me of the Parable of the Lost Coin in Luke 15: “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
We called Josh’s wife and his mother to announce the ring was found. It was a great find and a wonderful celebration. The scripture says there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels over one sinner who repents. The angels are in the presence of God.
I am not sure we always remember how important each individual is to our heavenly Father. I am not sure we always put much effort into the search for lost sheep, lost coins and lost sons and daughters. But, when we lead a lost son or daughter to our Savior, it is a cause for celebration both here and in heaven. May God give us a heart for the search.
Jim Hill is executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Missouri. This column appeared originally on his blog.
An ordained Baptist minister, Hill has served 50 years leading local church, denominational and non-profit organizations. He lives in Jefferson City, Missouri.