Part 2 of "Conviction"
In limiting the possible places that my lost wedding ring could have been, I had narrowed the area of the park down to three spots:
1. The sandbox(!)
2. The bottom of the slide (I take turns)
3. Underneath the monkey bars
A few other locations crossed my mind - under the swing set where I do pull-ups, under the monkey bars where I also do pull-ups or anywhere within the playground equipment area - but I had done enough tests upon my return home that night that I had figured that my leg had to have reached a certain height / angle in order for the ring to have fallen out of my pocket. My legs really never attained this angle in these locales; therefore, my ring had to have been in one of the big three.
As already mentioned, I awoke early the next morning to scour some of these spots with the aid of a shovel and laundry basket. I would shovel a bit of the sand or playground mulch into a laundry basket in order to spread out the bits and pieces of the load to more easily look for my treasure. Then, assuming that the contents of my shovel were treasureless, I would move that load of earth to another spot and continue my search.
So, if you can imagine the scene, it is barely daybreak and I'm at a playground with a shovel and laundry basket. I'm amazed that the running man actually stayed to help me search with these utensils in my hand and at my feet. But he did and he not only helped me look, he prayed with me.
"You're going to find it," he said as he ran back into the ether.
And, like I said in an earlier blog, I did. But, it wasn't just because this stranger and I prayed about it. It wasn't just because I prayed about it multiple times that morning and early afternoon.
It was because of a metal detector...and the prayers.
Tampa has only one place to rent a metal detector. I called right at 10:30 when it opened. I asked if they had any machines available for rent and if so, if they would be open in about an hour. The owner of the shop explained that he would be at the store until about 12:00 p.m. before going out of town for a few days. I pleaded my case, "I'll have it back by the end of the day!" "How much would it cost to keep it for that long?" "Is there any way that I could pick it up before you leave and put it in some sort of after hours drop-box?" Luckily, the store owner confided that if I could get it before 12:00 that he could meet me back at the store by 3:00 before he headed out to the airport.
"I'll have it back at 3:00!"
After a trip to the local metal detector store and a quick tutorial on how to use it, I was off to the playground. I brought the shovel and basket again to scare off any would be treasure hunters in search of my ring and/or use it to dig and unearth my find.
I wanted to rule out the other two areas prior to diving into the sandbox so I went to work on the bottom of the slide. Getting too close to the equipment caused the detector to chime, but it didn't take me long to figure out where these nuts and bolts were located and that the noises were not betraying the location of my precious.
Next, I went to work on the area under the monkey bars. It was void of any fasteners so it was a pretty easy and unproductive sweep.
My heart sank at the thought of the sandbox. "Save it for last," I game planned. Instead of entering the desert, I headed to the other parts of the playground area that I knew Elizabeth and I had covered the night prior. A nickel and loose screw was all that I could find under and in between the various steps, ledges and rails.
I looked to see if there was anywhere else that I could scour before tackling the sandbox. We didn't chase in the field. We didn't run to the top of the hill. We only stayed on one side of the playground. There had to be somewhere else to check before the sandbox.
Under the swing set. I highly doubted it was there - I didn't swing the night before - but it was a diversion and another place to exhaust before the box.
I grabbed my detector and gave it a quick scan. Immediately I got a beep different than any before. I swung back over the spot that created the noise. I made it again!
I looked around for my shovel and basket, but noticed out of the corner of my eye I noticed my ring. It was half-submerged, half-emerged from the ground. It had been in plain sight the entire time but it took me spending hours of my time and lots of my money to search and secure a metal detector for me to find it.
The same is true of our faith. I could have believed that my ring would be found (and I did) but I would not have found it without actually looking. Our faith is dead without works. My ring was lost without the metal detector. Faith is important and was a necessary component to give me the hope, calm and confidence that my ring would be found. But, I also needed to work to find it.
Our God doesn't just want us to pray. He wants us to take action as well.
Faith and works.
Faith in our works.
Faith that it works.
Faith that He works.
Always and all ways. Forever. Amen.