This week my family and I vacationed at the beach under the blazing sun, playing in the sand, jumping over the waves of the ocean, building sandcastles, and making sure to apply plenty of sunscreen.
It was a challenge for my 11-year-old daughter, Giselle, for whom eyeglasses are a necessity. They’re essential for her to see clearly but the beach is the last place she needs to bring them. It’s too easy to lose them in the endless acres of sand or while playing in the crashing waves at high tide.
When we got back to the parking lot yesterday, Giselle looked in the car for her glasses and they weren’t there.
“Did you bring them to the beach?” my wife asked.
“I don’t know.”
My wife dug around in the beach bag but they weren’t in there.
“I must have taken them out there and put them on the beach blanket,” Giselle said with dismay.
That was a problem. A few hours after we got to the beach, the tide started crashing further and further in, and we had to move our tent and umbrella twice. At some point during us dragging our things away from the waves, the glasses must have slipped off the blanket.
I decided to run back to the beach, try to figure out where we had been, and see if Giselle’s glasses were somewhere in the sand. My nine-year-old daughter, Layla, volunteered to help.
“Lord Jesus, please help us find these glasses,” I prayed out loud; but honestly, I didn’t have much hope (or faith) in finding them.
“We’re going to find them, Daddy,” said Layla as we approached the place where we’d been sitting. It was disheartening to arrive and discover that the waves had already washed over part of the area.
We carefully walked over the dry sand, hoping the glasses hadn’t been snagged by the waves, but we didn’t see them anywhere.
“Maybe they’re in the wet sand,” Layla said.
“If they’re in the wet said, then they’re buried under it and we’re definitely not going to find them.”
“Don’t give up, Daddy. We’re going to find them.”
I scanned the wet sand and suddenly noticed something: the purple outline of eyeglass rims with sand covering the lenses.
“Oh my goodness, that’s them!” I said, picking them up, beaming. Layla cheered and we thanked God together, looking at the lenses and hoping they weren’t scratched (they weren’t).
There was a large group of people close by who were sitting together eating and they hadn’t noticed what had just happened. I couldn’t help myself from sharing the good news. I excitedly announced it to the other beachgoers, and a few of the ladies in the group smiled and congratulated me; but overall, the response was subdued.
Those folks didn’t appreciate why finding those glasses mattered so much to us: Without the glasses, Giselle would’ve spent the rest of the trip squinting at us from across the room and having to scoot up close to the TV to see the movie. The fireworks would’ve been a blur and she would’ve missed out on clearly seeing the natural beauty all around us. It would’ve ruined the trip for her.
When we got back to the car with Giselle’s glasses, our family cheered and thanked God. We’re still thanking Him a day later.
The episode reminded me of the parable of the lost coin from Luke 15:8-10:
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
For those of you who are walking with the Lord, I hope my lost-and-found “coin” story reminds you of how intensely your Heavenly Father searched for you when you were lost. I want you to imagine the roar of angelic joy when you turned your life over to Jesus; ran into the arms of God; and turned away from the world, the flesh, and the devil.
For those of you who are not walking in obedience to Christ, don’t resist being found. Don’t cling to a life that will end with you suffocating under the weight of your choice to reject the lordship of Christ. Don’t say that you “struggle” with sin when you actually mean that Jesus is not Lord of your life, when you intend to keep shaking your fist against God in rebellion. Confess your defiance, give yourself over to the love of Christ, and let His grace wash over you.
The stakes are infinitely — eternally — higher than they are with lost glasses or a coin. The God of the universe has set His affection on you and He will respect your desire to be found or to remain lost. Respond to His love with love. Think of the sound of the angels around you erupting in terrifying cheers at the sound of your knees hitting the ground in submission to King Jesus.
And to those who are repentant, call your friends and neighbors and say, “Rejoice with me, for I was lost and now I have been found.“
Subscribe to a spam-free recap of what I’ve written by clicking here. And check out my book, “Confessions of a Happily Married Man,” which explores how God can work in the ordinary (and extraordinary) of marriage.