Last night something little and important got lost – outside in the dark. We had finished up our first Prayer Igniters Board meeting at my house and I bid goodbye to one of our board members Paul. As I was saying goodbye to the last member, Mary Jane, on the front steps Paul came back saying, “I lost my truck key.” We went back with him to the dining room table and looked around where he’d been seated. No key.
He explained that he had all of his other keys, but this one had been on a special holder attached to the ring and it had broken off. We all three went slowly down the sidewalk with our eyes glued to the white concrete. Unfortunately there was a big dark gap in front of the garage between the illumination of the front porch lights and the flood lights on the driveway where Paul’s truck was parked. Surely it was there. Our search turned up nothing.
Paul went back to rummage around his truck. I went to get my little high intensity pen light I use on my morning prayer walks when it’s dark. I told Mary Jane, “Here’s a tip if you ever lose a diamond. Turn out all of the lights and use a flashlight and you’ll catch the diamond’s sparkle.” I’ve lost – and found – a diamond before. That’s how I know. I went on, “Thankfully this key is much larger than a diamond and it’s definitely somewhere between the dining room and Paul’s truck.”
Mary Jane and I started back at the front porch, scouring the sidewalk with the light. “Shine the light over in the grass on this side,” Mary Jane said, “He had it in his right hand as he left. Maybe it fell into the grass and that explains why he didn’t hear it drop.”
As Mary Jane and I did a slow and thorough search of the sidewalk and right-side grass, I started quoting scripture out loud, something like a little prayer for God’s help for our search. “I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom. What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven…” I never can quote chapter and verse for you, but somehow appropriate scriptures bubble up and I can later figure out where they came from with a concordance. The Scripture felt soothing.
It was a great verse, but we didn’t find the key. We looked around the driveway near the truck some more and I asked Paul if his wife had a duplicate key back home I said, “It will be easier to find the key in the morning when it’s light.” Mary Jane offered to give Paul a lift home. Paul called his wife on his cell phone. I stood there idly playing the beam of the flashlight under Paul’s truck. “There it is!” I said, pointing the beam of the of light under the truck and slightly behind the tire. We all saw it. To prove a point I turned off the flashlight. Our shadows cast by the floodlight under the truck made an inky black shadow that rendered the key completely invisible. Paul bent under the truck and got the key. We all said good night, case solved.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I lose something vital like car keys or an important document, I usually go into a tizzy and it nearly ruins my day. But I got to thinking just the opposite last night. I got to thinking that we’re at our best when we’re searching for something we’ve lost.
Maybe instead of getting unglued, I could start counting up the blessings of the search: teamwork, attention to detail, determination, applying logic and reasoning skills, thinking of alternatives of how to get things done even if the item isn’t found right away, even seeking a little divine help. And then there’s the whole issue of light -finding a way to illumine unlikely areas, thinking outside the box and under the truck.
The ability to search is a glorious gift from God. If nothing ever got lost we’d never need to go on the hunt. God wants us to love a good search, especially our search for meaning in life that brings us back to Him time and time again. After all, the Bible says, “He who seeks will find…” (Matt. 7:7) And that’s really good news any day of the week.