Searching In The Right Places

I lost my wedding ring about a month ago.

I have no clue how, where or when. All I know is that on July 26 I woke up, got ready to run some errands, and as I reached for my ring, I could not find it anywhere. I searched the house up and down. I moved the couches, checked between the cushions and even shook the couch to see if my ring would make any noise. I checked the trash cans, I checked the back yard, I checked my truck, I checked every cranny and drawer in my bedroom. I searched every inch of the house and I could not find it.

When I ran out of places to search in my house, I started retracing my steps. I went to the church to search every room I had been in, I called the restaurant I had lunch at the day before, I even reached out to a friend asking him to check at his church because I knew I had it on when I went to visit him the day before.

The longer I searched the more my emotions began to get the best of me. I started getting sad because, after all, it’s my wedding ring. I started getting frustrated because I couldn’t understand how I had misplaced it. I started to worry that my wife was going to be upset at me. I started feeling shame at having to walk around without my ring. Emotion after emotion started to overcome me as I began to give up on ever finding my ring.

Fifteen days later, I woke up and turned on my tv to finish a Netflix series I had been trying to finish. As soon as I finished the last episode, I noticed something shiny sitting next to my tv. I could not stop wondering what it was so I got up, walked over to my tv and reached for this unidentified shiny object.

It was covered in dust and felt warm from the cable box it was sitting next to. But believe it or not, it was my ring! Somehow it had been sitting right there next to the tv this whole time.

I quickly took the dust off, put it on, breathed a sigh of relief, and ran to my wife to show off to her that I had found my ring. We were both so happy and so relieved that we decided to go out for dinner that night to celebrate and tell all of our friends who knew that the mystery had been solved. It was a joyous occasion for sure!

I must say that since then, I have come to understand the story of the lost coin a bit differently.

We read in Luke 15 of a woman who has ten silver coins, each worth about a day’s wage. One day she realizes that she is missing one of them and goes into a frenzy to search for it. When she finally finds it, she is so overwhelmed with joy that she tells everyone and invites her neighbors to join her for a party to celebrate.

I could relate to her sense of worry as she searched everywhere. I could relate to the sense of defeat as it took longer and longer to find. I could even relate to her joy as she found her coin.  And above all, the sense of relief in finding such a treasured possession. 

I also began to see this story through a different lens for the first time and it changed everything for me. And maybe it will for you too.

Imagine, for a second, that you are this woman who is searching for something. Maybe the coin represents a sense of purpose. Maybe for you, this coin represents a sense of being effective. Maybe for you this coin represents a sense of being enough. Maybe for you this coin represents healing in your marriage or reconciliation in a relationship. Maybe the coin represents your financial struggles or your struggles with a health issue. For all of us, this coin represents something that we are struggling with today.

Now imagine for a second, if this woman (or you in this imaginary scenario) was searching for this thing in the wrong place. She knew that what she had lost was in her home, but what if she had no clue where to search and had ended up searching in the wrong place? I, for example, had no clue where my ring could be, so I spent lots of time searching at the church and calling different places to see if they had seen it. I could have spent a ton of energy and effort searching for my ring, but if I had searched for it in the wrong places, I would never have found what I was searching for.

Many of us go through life searching for our coin, but we are searching in the wrong places. We try to find our sense of purpose in our hobbies. We try to find effectiveness based on whether people around us approve of our work or not. We try to find our worth in others. We try to heal our marriages and relationship by trying to do things our own way. We are all searching for something, but if we don’t search for that something in the right place, we will find ourselves eternally searching.

The reality is that unless we begin searching for these things in God, we will never find what we are searching for. Our sense of purpose, our sense of effectiveness, healing in our relationships and personal struggles can only be found in Jesus. Anything outside of that, will only be a temporary Band-Aid in your life; and you will soon find yourself searching again.

Whatever it is that you are searching for today, I want to encourage you to search for these things in God. Make worship an intentional part of your routine. Join a small group. Give your life in service. Spend time in prayer every day even if you don’t know what to say. Pick a book of the bible and read a chapter a day, even if you don’t understand it. I for one, am always willing to have a conversation on theology, so send me questions of when you read.

Search for God, and I promise that you find what you are searching for. Anything other than searching for God, leads to an endless sense of having to search. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live life that way.

Together on the journey,

Pastor Fernie

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