This edition will be a bit different from my usual tendencies. I’m sharing something that happened last week on the eve of my wife’s and my wedding anniversary. It wasn’t one of those earth-shattering, life-changing events that we often hear about. No one was rescued from some life-threatening danger, no miraculous healings took place, and no one was delivered from slavery to some sinful pursuit. No one was involved except my wife and me, and beyond the two of us, no one was aware that our special little God-moment had ever taken place.
Anticipating a Celebration ~
We were in the midst of a project to add a gas fire pit on our patio out back, and that was going to be our gift to each other. I planned to celebrate by eventually roasting a marshmallow or two – maybe even casting off all restraint and inviting a box of Graham Crackers and our stash of Halloween Hershey bars to join us in making S’mores. Forget the roses and jewelry, nothing says “I love you” like sticky marshmallow cream and chocolate all over your face, right? While we were close to completing our project, we weren’t quite there yet, and the way things were going, we expected that our fire pit party would have to wait a few more days.
The afternoon of our anniversary eve was waning as we parked our SUV (which was temporarily masquerading as a pickup truck) beside a stack of cinder blocks at our favorite builder’s supply store. I had finished loading the blocks that we needed and was looking forward to finally heading home. After lowering the tailgate, I headed around to the passenger side to begin negotiations with my recalcitrant right knee to determine the least painful way to get on board. As I opened the door, Diane interrupted the personal conference with my knee, asking
“What did you drop, Honey?”
A Reasonable Question ~
It wasn’t an unfamiliar question around our house, since I apparently have that as a spiritual gift. It’s just not officially included in the Biblical list. I have an uncanny ability to drop things. If dropping stuff was an Olympic event, you would’ve certainly seen me on a podium somewhere by now with a flag draped around me. Although, when I do drop things, I almost always at least realize it . . . except for those times when I inadvertently anoint my shirt with some drippy condiment. But I was innocent in this case and said so.
“I didn’t drop anything,” I responded. “I didn’t have anything in my hands that I could have dropped anyway.”
“Maybe something dropped out when you opened the door,” she suggested.
I looked at the area around my feet and near the doorway, and there was nothing. Once again, I confidently asserted that nothing had fallen.
“What did it sound like?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she responded. “It just sounded like you dropped something on the concrete. Are you sure you didn’t have something in your hand?”
I stepped back and looked around again, and there was nothing. I looked under the car and again, nothing, and reported back again . . .
“I don’t know what you heard, Honey, but there’s nothing on the ground over here.”
Persistence Prevails ~
My assertions were not enough to convince her that whatever she heard, or thought she heard, wasn’t worth wasting any more time investigating. I was tired, anxious to get home, and more than ready to just chalk the issue up as one of those insignificant mysteries we never figured out. But she would not be deterred. She proceeded to head around to my side of the car to check things out for herself. I took a deep breath, congratulated myself for being so cooperative, and watched as she bent over and carefully scoured the area.
My reputation for dropping things notwithstanding, other factors made simply dismissing the issue and going on home still seem like a reasonable thing to do. In the first place, we weren’t exactly in a quiet room where you could hear a pin drop. We were in a parking area with the usual outdoor sounds going on all around us. Beyond that, I wasn’t holding anything I could have dropped anyway. And even if I had been, it may have gone unnoticed because she was standing on the other side of the car, some 8-10 feet away from me. But none of that mattered. She had that focused, determined look on her face that I’ve learned not to get in the way of. It was okay, though, because whatever happened next, tomorrow I’d be celebrating a very special day with this incredible woman who displays the selfless love and grace of God to me every day.
Unanticipated Discovery ~
Then she spied something near a pallet of cinder blocks several feet behind me. She thought it might be just some kind of brass washer that had fallen and she somehow managed to hear it. As she got closer, she immediately recognized what it was, and it wasn’t a brass washer. She picked it up and turned to me with a look on her face that I didn’t immediately understand. Then she walked over, held her hand up close to my face, and I saw my wedding band tightly gripped between her thumb and fingers.
For a second or two, I felt a bit dumbfounded. I never take that ring off for anything. It’s always right there on my finger where it belongs. Only on that day, it suddenly wasn’t there anymore, and I had no clue. The body weight I had lost with all my joint surgeries, combined with the cold temperatures that day, plus the skin-drying effect of handling the cinder blocks, were enough to allow the ring to just fall off, and I didn’t feel a thing when it happened.
I slipped the ring back on my finger, folded my hand into a fist and held it to my chest. A sudden awareness that I have no words to describe emerged from places much deeper than simple tears would reveal, and it overwhelmed me. I’ve written stories about love, taught lessons about praise, engaged in discussions about true worship, and explored the power of gratitude, but I had never imagined what it could be like if all of those powerful things suddenly invaded the pathetically insufficient boundaries of one human heart at the same time.
An Amazing Realization ~
Then in the midst of that indescribable onslaught of emotion, a question emerged with amazing clarity. “How on earth could she possibly have heard that?” With everything else going on, there was no way the sound of that tiny piece of gold dropping a couple of feet to the concrete below could have traveled that far and been distinguished from all those other sounds. But somehow it did. Without even knowing exactly what she heard, or whether it was anything we should waste our time on, she refused to let it go. With no clue what she was looking for or why it seemed so important, she ignored my rationalizations and searched like she was looking for, well… “gold.”
I couldn’t help but picture how different this anniversary would have felt with the discovery that my wedding band had mysteriously disappeared. I would have been obsessed with trying to figure out how it could have happened. Where could it have gone? How did it get off my finger? When could it have happened? I held my hand up again and again and tried to find some way to express what that event meant to me and what God wanted me to learn.
An Incredible Promise ~
For me, it comes down to this. God doesn’t always manifest His presence and unveil his love in ways that are grand and overtly glorious. Sometimes He does little things that turn out to be incredibly big. Sometimes He shows up to love us in ways we’d never expect, like jacking up a woman’s auditory senses to a miraculous level and making an ordinary day unforgettable. Jesus didn’t reveal all the specific details He might unveil later, but incredible things are included in the promise He made a long time ago when He said,
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:18 NKJV)
God showed up for our anniversary, and He showed up to bless us and love us, not condemn us. He never mentioned how imperfect our love for each other and for Him had so often been. He didn’t remind us of how many ways both of us had failed Him. The many times we rebelled against His will, betrayed our own testimonies of faith, and how much we had hurt ourselves and others along the way never came up. He didn’t even highlight how much pain forgiving us had cost Him.
Instead, He just showed up, wrapped us both in love we can’t understand and said, “Happy Anniversary.” Then He added this: “Oh, and by the way, I brought a little something for you. Since I love finding lost things and retrieving priceless things that go missing, let me show you what I can do.”
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to tweet and share from the pull quotes below. Each one links directly back to this article through Twitter . . .
- “God doesn’t always manifest His presence and unveil his love in ways that are grand and overtly glorious. Sometimes He does little things that turn out to be incredibly big. Sometimes He shows up to love us in ways we’d never expect.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Jesus didn’t reveal all the specific details that He might unveil later, but incredible things are included in the promise He made a long time ago when He said, ‘I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.’ (John 14:18 NKJV)” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “God showed up to bless & love us, not condemn us. He didn’t mention how imperfect our love for each other & for Him had been, or remind us how many ways we had failed Him. He didn’t even highlight how much pain forgiving us had cost Him.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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