Keeping the Faith

The Parable of the Lost Ring in the Skip Bin

My better half came home from work the other day all cheery and exhilarated.

“You are not going to believe what happened to me,” he said, landing me with a kiss.

He goes on to tell me how after school that day (he’s a teacher) he was helping clear out a classroom for renovations, emptying armloads and binloads of rubbish into a skip bin.  They’d been at it for a good half-hour before he realised he was no longer wearing a ring on his right hand, middle finger.  The hammered silver one that we had made for our five-year wedding anniversary.  Gone.

At this point my eyes traveled to his right hand in the same way that some of us skip to the last chapter of a suspenseful novel.  His fingers were bare.  He caught my eye and, with a grim smile, continued.

So there he was standing beside the skip bin, knowing that somewhere in that immense jumble of junk was a little piece of precious metal that he’d likely lost for good.

“I was about to walk away, to just give up,” he explained.

“But then I thought – nah! Stuff this! God says to call on him, so I will!”

My husband stood there in the waning light beside that big old skip bin and prayed a simple prayer that he would find a needle in a haystack – or rather a ring in a skip bin.  He then hoisted himself up over the side to begin his search.  The first thing he picked up was a bundle of rags sitting above a tin.

“Tinkle-tinkle.”  He shook it again.  “Tinkle-tinkle.”

And sure enough, there was his ring and as he tells me this detail he pulls the item from his pocket (drama queen!).

Back outside the skip bin, you would have seen my hubby linger for a minute or two longer as he thanked God for this small answer to prayer.

“As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number,” Job 5:8-9 reads.

My God cares about what we care about.  In fact, He wants us to come to Him with our concerns.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

I’m not just talking about lost property here.  Perhaps you have a defiant child with behaviour issues (my hand’s in the air).  Your marriage isn’t going so well.  Friction at work.  Money struggles.  God is listening and He longs to hear our voice angled in His direction.

There are a lot of unhappy people in the aftermath of this election. You’ve seen the bitter sentiments on social media. You may have started rolling your eyes at them as I have.

However bleak your forecast of this new government, God is still God, still listening to our needs, still responding to our pleas, big and small.  And God is not limited by the name of our Prime Minister.

That is all on the topic of politics.

But let’s remember that God is bigger than the mess of a skip bin (or the mess of politics, making ends meet and relationships).

So commit your cause to God (not Facebook!).

Published first in The Examiner Newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday September 16, 2013.

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25 Comments

  1. Thank you Claire, God does hear and answer prayer, we just need to believe this and turn to him in faith.

    It’s a good thing our hope is not in politicians, as they will often disappoint us. We should pray for them rather than critising them, because they do have a tough job.

    • Yes – they certainly do! Ask those who criticise if they would like to trade jobs and I can guess their answer. Haha! But seriously, politicians do need our prayers.

  2. Graziela says

    That was a beautiful experience, happy that he found the ring with God’s help 🙏 “You are always loyal to your loyal people, and you are faithful to the faithful.” Psalms 18:25

  3. Bron Baker says

    I had similar incident on Friday when I was ‘distracted’ by a gorgeous fresh orange poppy blooming in our garden as I came in from the car. Didn’t even realize that I’d dropped my husband’s keys, looked everywhere over the weekend to no avail. Yesterday I was picking peas that were nearing the end of their harvest which hadn’t been crash hot really. One lot had fallen off the stake and I nearly didn’t bother straightening it, yet as I did, there under the foliage, the missing keys went ‘peekaboo!’ (I am spending a bit of time with my precious grandson as you can guess by that analogy!!) great laughter and praise erupted from me at this discovery!! I believe that the Holy Spirit had definitely directed my steps!!

  4. Roger Martin says

    Wow!
    Have you seen the comments on The Examiner web site?
    I’ve contributed 13 comments in response so far and I’m praying that the Lord will use one of them to change the hearts and minds of the critics.

    • Wow indeed!! Good on you Roger for sticking in there despite the nastiness. I wish more Christians would stand up, speak up. I’m going to put a post on my Facebook page, see if anyone else would like to have a say 🙂

      • Roger Martin says

        Claire,
        I am delighted to deflect the nastiness and acid comments from you to me.
        I think that you are a marvelous fruit bearing branch and I want to encourage you and to the extent that I can, protect you from the hurtful comments.
        Keep up the good work.

        Blessings and the love of Christ,

        Roger

      • Laura Palmer says

        lol, nastiness? I don’t think so. Just people who need more than just “It’s in the Bible” as proof that your beliefs are valid. The questions being asked are valid and the Christians on the thread should be able to accept a bit of criticism of their beliefs, especially when they make claims that they cannot back up with any evidence, other than “it’s in the Bible”.
        I would say to you that if you cannot handle criticism and if you cannot answer your critics and back up your claims on the Examiner webpage, then I would say that you do not deserve a column in a secular newspaper.

      • Hi Laura,
        what kind of proof would be sufficient, in your opinion? I ask sincerely, I’m not being sarcastic.

        Don’t worry – Christians do accept much criticism! The thread on The Ex website is surely evidence. In the five years I have written this column I have received a battery of criticism and I guess this is just the way I manage it – by only responding to comments on my own blog. I am perhaps a lot weaker than my words make out. Criticism does bruise, I’m only human. But my faith is intact because I know God personally. He speaks to me every day, if I listen. And my conviction is such that I cannot be silent.

        I’m sorry you resent my public voice so much – generally my goal is only to share God’s love. There’s not a lot of love in the news these days! If you’re serious about your complaint regarding my space in the paper – take it to the editor. His name is Martin Gilmour and you can email him at editor@examiner.com.au

      • Laura Palmer says

        Well, you see Claire, the thing is, an unverified book written by many different people, over many years, 2000 years ago is not sufficient enough evidence to make the claim that god exists. There needs to other evidence and not just anecdotal, but the same evidence required to make a scientific statement. Otherwise, what you believe is myth. Why should we base any public policy on myth?

        It’s a book that it’s followers cannot agree on and has caused them to split. A book that contains contradictions and a book that it’s followers pick and choose the verses they would like to follow and ignore the rest (God permits rape in the OT. Rape! How can you condone that! [Judges 21:10-24, Numbers 31:7-18, Deuteronomy 20:10-14.])

        I find it incredulous that you apply a book that is 2000 years old to current events and, actually state what you think God thinks of current events (God never says anything about abortion in the Bible, yet you see it fit to base your opinion on what God thinks? You don’t know what God thinks. you are just stating your opinion and then, thinking that it gives it more weight, attribute it to God).

        I also find it incredulous that you are so sure of yourself that you feel as if you have a right to comment on the private decisions/lives of others and also push your beliefs onto them. For example – gay people. Why can’t they get married? What’s wrong with them? If they have no problem with themselves and accept themselves as gay, then why is your opinion of their lifestyle valid? Why can’t your personal beliefs be just that? Personal? Why do you feel the need to have everybody believe what you believe? You have the right to live your life your way in this country. Worship, pray, read the Bible. Why can’t you see that everybody deserves that freedom, even if you, personally, don’t agree with their lifestyle?

        I am sorry, but you are weak. You write your piece, put it in the paper and on the webpage and then retreat to your safe haven, this place. Even after being quite scathing of women who have abortions and homosexuals. You owe it to those people to listen to their side and respond to the criticisms that they have of your words. The questions and arguments put to you under your columns are often very valid and require you to answer, to clarify your position.

        As for emailing Martin about your column, I have thought about it many times. I have even considered starting a campaign on Facebook to get you fired. However, at the end of the day, this is a free country and you are entitled to hold your beliefs. Having said that, I do think that you should be open to responding to your critics. I would also like to see a bit more balance in the Examiner and some other religions/beliefs explored.

      • Laura I think you are rude, if you don’t like Claire works why you read it then? You are free to choose the things you read and believe as much as Claire. People have different point of views, you are telling that Claire is pushing her believes but you are the one who is doing that you clear has different opinion that is why you don’t like Claire works so you want to get her fired because she believes in something you don’t. Some people like me and Claire and much more believes in God and we have a lots reason for that and we don’t have to prove anything to you even God has, He is God, who are you? a lots people also is against abortion so what is wrong with that, why everybody has to agree with homosexuality? I don’t agree with that practise that doesn’t mean I hate who do it, I respect everyone opinion, I have friends and people in family who is homosexual I love them as much I love all my friends but I don’t need to agree with them, people are different you have to learn to accept them the way they are. Jesus die in cross to save you believe you or not, He suffer a lots because He loves you and you don’t believe in Jesus or in his sacrifice but He still loves you and always will.
        To finish that why so much hate? I don’t see anything wrong about someone who lost something and had faith in God to find it. How such a thing can bother you so much?
        I had a lots experience in life with God, I came from a very simple family, my parents got divorced and my father didn’t help us financially, I got a job but I didn’t get enough money to be able to buy my lunch everyday, so when I didn’t have money or food I usually go to the toilet got on my knees and pray for God with all my faith, I usually tell to God I don’t know how you are going provide my lunch today but I’m thankful to you because I know you going prepare it amen, after that always something happen and I never ever was a day without food and I have much more miracles that happen through the power of pray, you can’t believe and never anything like that happened to you because you never tried, open you heart pray with faith and I’m sure you won’t regret, God has beautiful things for your life Laura, I don’t know you, I don’t know anything about your life but I know if you don’t have Jesus in your life you always will few empty, you going spend your life searching for happiness everywhere and you never will find it.

        John 14:6
        New International Version (NIV)
        6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

      • Laura Palmer says

        So, Claire can say whatever she likes about whoever she likes, but I’m not allowed to read it or comment or take her to task on any of it? Get real. I think that people like Claire give a voice to bigotry and discrimination and I will say something, as my conviction is too great not to.

        You don’t have to be gay and you don’t have to have an abortion. But you have no right to prevent people from making personal choices that affect their life and no one elses. This is what the church does. This is what Claire does. Busybodies.

        When you and your ilk start to keep your personal beliefs to yourself, I’ll keep my mouth shut. I couldn’t care less what myths you believe in. But while we still have people discriminating and judging others based on superstition, I will continue to speak up.

  5. Roger Martin says

    Laura,
    You appear to be overlooking the basic principle of faith and that is one accepts something by faith, if that thing cannot be scientifically proved.
    So in matters of faith, it is rather pointless for you to continue demanding that scientific evidence and proof be provided.
    One either accepts by faith or one accepts by what you describe as scientific evidence.
    If it is the former, no evidence is required.
    If it is the latter, no faith is involved.

    Laura, I have endeavoured to help you in your seeking and certainly not criticised you; but one question which puzzles me……..Why is Claire’s column such an issue to you?
    I don’t respond to any matters which are of no interest to me or which I think are rubbish and a waste of time.

    • Laura Palmer says

      Se my comment above. you could call it a divine quest to have Claire see the light.

      • Claire does not need to write things in accordance to your beliefs. Just as you have the right to criticise her, she also has the right to criticise you. If you can’t stand her column, don’t read it. It’s that simple. Yes, that simple.

      • Laura Palmer says

        Ah, yes, and if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one and if you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay marriage.

        See, works both ways. When Claire stops defining my morals for me, I’ll leave her alone.

  6. Hi all,

    Some of the comments above have questioned the validity of the Bible and challenged the relevance of advocating Christian principles in our society.

    Here are three audio sermons from 2012, which try and rationally explain some Christian views of morality, homosexuality and abortion.

    http://www.fileswap.com/dl/CJ8RzJiBw0/Defining_the_good.mp3.html

    http://www.fileswap.com/dl/dlzS5iDCjn/The_acceptance_of_Gay.mp3.html

    http://www.fileswap.com/dl/S5Sv5Bwskp/The_gift_of_being_human.mp3.html

    (Note: Click on the small arrow in the File Preview box to play)

    I found them to be helpful to me.

  7. Jannie says

    Dear Laura

    I am sorry about the anger and frustration you feel about religion being discussed in the public square. I like to tell you that you are simply against religion, in particular Christianity being discussed because you are just angry at God. I don’t know your past. I don’ know you. But I like to tell you that even though you hate God, God loves you. Yes, that’s right, God loves you. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%203:16&version=NIV

    I don’t feel angry at you, even though you would not agree with my beliefs, or even hate me. I am not being sarcastic. So, what’s the point of feeling angry at Christianity?

    • Laura Palmer says

      How can I be angry at something that doesn’t exist?

      I criticize because Claire seems to think that she can define everybody’s morals based on her own particular beliefs.
      When she can accept that people have the right to make their own choices, that everybody has the right to their own truth and that god is not everybody’s authority, then I will leave her alone.
      When she can accept that gay people are people and deserve the same rights under the law, when she can accept that gay parents are no different to straight parents, that kids are fine as long as they have loving homes, that her idea of marriage is just her opinion and that she does not define it for everyone, that preventing a woman from having an abortion can have dire consequences for that woman, that the fact that she believes all life is precious from conception ( not supported Biblically), regardless of how the host of that fetus feels or their particular religious beliefs or lack thereof, then I will leave her alone.

      I feel that Claire needs to be held accountable for her beliefs and the voice that she gives to bigotry and prejudice. You may think that you know the Truth, but I say that your just afraid of life and so believe in superstitions to make it easier to face the unknown. So, get use to me, cos I’ll be hanging around like a bad smell.

      • Jannie says

        I appreciate your beliefs and your criticisms. I appreciate you hanging around, not because I tolerate others, but because I love others.

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