GOD RETURNED MY WALLET & CAMERA
Nothing is too small or too trivial to pray about. In 1990, I was deer hunting and lost my wallet. I didn't realize I had lost it until I was home. Knowing a big snow storm was coming in, I drove later that evening back to where I had parked my car, thinking that maybe it would be lying on the ground when I had gotten out of my snowmobile suit. It was not to be found there however.
snowflakes began to come down heavier, as I drove back home.
I replayed the events of the day in my mind, trying to think of some
place where the wallet could have worked its way out of my pocket.
At mid-morning I had crossed a little stream.
It was a couple feet deep where I had crossed.
I had slipped off a log trying to cross, and one boot remained on the log
while the other boot sunk in the squishy muddy bottom of the creek bed.
Of all the places where pressure could have been exerted on my wallet to
slip out of my back pocket, that would have been the most likely spot.
If that was where the wallet was lost, I knew someone would never find it
there, nor would I the next spring.
got home just before midnight and looked everywhere I could think of once again.
I especially went through my snowmobile suit inside out a number of
times, hoping that it was lodged somewhere that I had overlooked.
The wallet was nowhere to be found, and I resigned myself to the fact
that I had lost it in one of many different places I had walked or sat that day.
I had covered several miles, and it could be anyplace.
going to sleep, I prayed this prayer to the Lord.
'Heavenly Father, I am asking that
you preserve my wallet until someone finds it and sends it back to me.
It's not the money that I want back (I only had $30 in it)
but I just don't want to have to mess with replacing the things that need
replacing in it. Send someone to the
exact spot that wallet is next year when the snow melts and have them get the
wallet back to me. If it fell in
the creek ' well, I understand. Now
Lord, I'm going to trust you to answer this prayer, and I thank you for it, in
I wondered if it might be a little on the selfish side, yet I also realized that unless I prayed and trusted the Lord to have someone find it, chances are no one would, because I had walked in some wild, brushy areas that day.
As the weeks and months passed, I kept telling myself that I should go get a new driver's license, yet time after time I just let the notion pass. If I wasn't willing to be patient, what was the use praying and asking in the first place?
Spring came, then summer. No wallet. Finally I realized I needed to go get a new driver's license, which I did. Once I did that, I pretty much forgot about the wallet.
weekend late that summer I walked into our basement over near where our winter
clothes were hanging. My snowmobile
suit was hanging on the end of the rack all by itself, where I had hung it to
dry out when I had come back from hunting the previous fall.
Lying on the floor directly under the snowmobile suit was a wallet.
I did a double take at first ' thinking maybe I was imagining things.
No ' it was my wallet! The
$30 cash was still in it, along with all my other personal belongings.
I was elated, to say the least, but more than elated ' surprised!
walked back upstairs and asked my wife, Kathleen, if she had placed the wallet
there. She said she hadn't.
'It had to be in your snowmobile
suit and you just overlooked it,' she
said. I told her, 'No
way! I looked through that
snowmobile suit I don't know how many times.
I turned it inside out several times over.
I checked every pocket time and time again ' every seam ' every little
cranny. It was impossible for that
wallet to be in that snowmobile suit!'
I knew ' though I just couldn't prove ' God brought that wallet back to me. God had answered my prayer long after I had given up trusting that He would bring it back. I just want to publicly thank Him and glorify Him for doing so!
A few years later, another incident happened of similar fashion. I had a 35 MM camera that I had bought in Vietnam while I served there in 1968. The camera had seen a lot of miles and had given me photographs of priceless worth over the many years. It was part of our family and part of my history. The camera always sat in our spare closet on the second shelf in plain sight. It was always kept in the same spot so I would know exactly where it was when I wanted it.
One day I went to use it and it was gone. I asked Kathleen if she had moved it. She said she had not. I asked her if someone borrowed it, and she said no one had. I looked through the entire house, top to bottom, for several days at different times. The camera was nowhere to be found. I thought that perhaps someone might have broke into our house without our knowing and had stolen the camera. I never loaned the camera out to anyone, and there was no one staying with us who could have used or misplaced it without my knowing. I was very upset, not because the camera couldn't be replaced, but like I said, the camera was as much a part of my life as was my left and right hand. It had great sentimental value, aside from the fact that it had an extremely sharp lens that took excellent quality pictures.
wallet episode came back to me so I decided I had nothing to lose.
So I prayed, 'Heavenly Father,
I'm asking you to help me find that camera.
If that camera is somewhere around the house where we just can't find
it, I'm asking and trusting that you will help us find it.
If someone stole it, then I'm asking that you lead him or her to be
honest and bring it back. You know
where that camera went, and you know how to get it back to me.
I trust you in Jesus name to help me find it.'
Again, weeks and months went by. After awhile, I just forgot about the camera being gone. I assumed it was lost forever. Then one day I went to find something else I needed on a shelf in that closet, and low and behold, right in plain sight where I always had kept the camera before, sat the CAMERA! Again, I thought I was seeing things.
I quickly had Kathleen come and look. 'Did you find that camera somewhere and put it back on the shelf where I've always kept it without telling me?'
'No,' she replied, as a look of puzzlement came over her face.
Well ' next I began a little halleluiah praise fest. I thanked God for answering my prayer, and forgiving me for not actively continuing to trust Him to bring the camera back. I didn't disbelieve He wouldn't: I just had let the whole thing pretty much slip my mind. Yet He answered my prayer and honored my trust anyway. Wow! Again, all praise to my Lord.
From the wallet incident and the camera incident, I can't tell you the number of times we have misplaced things around the house. Over and over one of us has shown our frustration with ourselves for being so absent-minded in misplacing this item or that. When we work ourselves into a dither trying to find what we've misplaced, or perhaps lost, the other will usually say, 'Have you prayed and told the Holy Spirit you're going to trust Him to lead you to it?' Invariably the answer is 'No,' and the other person says, 'Well ' why not? He knows exactly where it is. All you have to do is ask Him to help you find it and actively trust Him that He's going to.'
It is amazing how quickly at times He in fact does answer prayers like that around our house. I can't remember one time when He has not, in fact, shown us where the misplaced item is, if we'll be patient.
What's the point in all this? What is to be learned here? Remember ' God knows everything. If I lose something, He knows exactly what happened to whatever it is I've lost. He knows how to lead me to it, or ' get it back to me, like my wallet and my camera. So ' all I have to do is ask Him to, right? WRONG! Once I ask Him to, I must trust Him to as well.
Yesterday, on March 9, 2002, I was struck with a revelation from the Holy Spirit. Kathleen and I were filming a brother's testimony. John Calvert was sharing on camera how He had gone to heaven upon dying and God judged Him. Amazingly, God gave John a second chance at life and sent his spirit back into his body. John now lives to share his testimony to anyone who will listen to it. (Anyone interested in hearing this blessed yet sobering heaven encounter, request either video or audio tape number: 323).
Before we film someone's testimony, we always ask God to show us something about Himself we didn't know before -- teach us something we need to know through the person testifying and ministering. Brother John said this: 'Trust proves love.' I pondered that little statement. It is a truism I have found so important in praying and having prayers answered. In times past I've prayed prayers until I'm blue in the face that never got answered. Yet when I've prayed unselfish prayers and told the Lord I was going to trust Him to answer it, it has been amazing the number of times I've seen God answer those prayers pretty much the way I've asked and trusted Him to.
Asking and the trusting go hand in hand with God's Word. Time and time again we read in God's Word the importance of faith, or ' believing that we are going to receive when we ask. Yet it amazes me how many people pray prayers in the circles I've been in when there is a lot of asking going on, but very little vocal trusting to accompany the request. Why is that, I've asked myself time and time again? One reason is that I believe the devil has blinded so many Christians to the importance of trusting once we ask God for something.
We don't realize that in the New Testament, when we run across the word believe, it usually means the same thing as trust. Now a huge piece of the puzzle has suddenly fallen into place, from John's statement: 'Trust proves love.' What is the first and great commandment Jesus tells us to obey in Matthew 22:37? 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.'
I would exhort every person reading this to do a word study from your
concordance. Look up 'believe'
and see how many times it does not appear
in the Old Testament. Yet notice
how many times it appears in the New Testament.
Likewise, look up the word 'trust.'
It is amazing how many times it's not
found in the New Testament but is in fact found in the Old Testament.
Is God playing 'games' with us?
Of course not. If you look
up the root meanings of both 'believe'
and 'trust' ' you will discover for yourself they can be used
interchangeably in the Old and the New Testaments!]
is nearly impossible to obey this command in Matthew 22:37 and bypass trusting
Him. Surely obedience
proves our love, but like obedience is the blood in our veins, trust
is the heart that keeps circulating it, providing oxygen to our
bodies . . . and trust is the proof of our obedience as well.
God's Word interprets His Word. Taking one portion of scripture and trying to make it work without taking all other portions of scripture on the matter and applying them as well is what has gotten Christians into most of the trouble they have given the devil opportunity to get them in. I say this to say that when we pray selfish prayers, we can ask and we can trust until the cows don't come home, and God usually doesn't honor prayers of that nature. Rarely in my experience does God honor prayers of a selfish nature. And yet, we must be very careful when we define 'selfish.' We must be careful in not being too quick to 'assume' what we want to ask God for is necessarily 'selfish.'
Some people could say that it is 'selfish' for me to ask and trust that I am going to heaven after I die. Other's can say it is 'selfish' for me to ask God for a better paying job. Other's can say that it is selfish for me to ask and trust God that my investments will show a generous return, when all odds are against me. 'Selfishness' can be a relative term. I believe that God will in fact answer a lot of our 'selfish' requests, if we'll be sure to give Him the glory for it, especially if it involves money. Much of what God weighs before answering such requests is what a person will do with that money once the request is granted. If a person will use that wealth in God-glorifying ways, then God is more likely to grant monetary requests. If it's used to consume on our own lusts, or someone else's, then we may be asking and trusting in vain ' which can be something the devil uses to steal our confidence in our praying and asking in the future.
Ask God to reveal to you the wisdom of trusting when you ask Him for things. Ask Him to give you greater revelation of John's statement: Trust PROVES love.
Another revelation the Holy Spirit quickened to me while John was ministering has to do with the wisdom of having at least one other person to be trusting exactly as you are trusting - but preferably two if you can get them. There is a whole lot more that bypasses our earthly wisdom where God says in Matthew 18:19-20: 'Where two or more of you are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst of them.' When you are asking and trusting God for what may seem like the impossible, we immediately engage in spiritual warfare with our enemy (see Matt. 18:18). We can be filled with faith one day and wake up the next totally void of having any faith to be able trust (think about that statement real hard) the next day. That's where the active trust of your covenant 'truster' kicks in. When one's faith dies, the other's kicks in. The more TRUSTED partners you can find to stand with you, the wiser you may be in any given situation. Yet you must be extremely careful in not sharing your prayer you're trusting God to answer for you with Christians who 'shoot arrows of doubt and unbelief at you in their ignorance ' never mind non-Christians.'
Something else is key when asking and trusting God (believing) for 'big' things. (Remember, nothing is too BIG for God...Mark 9:23). When faith seems to be waning, FASTING with prayer is sometimes the wisest thing we can do. Sometimes you can pray and pray and never have your prayers work, because faith isn't there to battle the enemy until God manifests the answer. Fasting is the ultimate weapon with prayer that God has given us when the enemy plagues us with His barrages of fear, doubt, and unbelief darts.
Every prayer I am considering praying needs to be filtered through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, I believe, otherwise my prayer life will grow less fruitful. I need to always do a quick double-check with the Holy Spirit whenever I can before I pray a prayer out loud. Unless it's an emergency prayer of 'Jesus, help me!' as a drunk is coming at my car head on ' I don't believe it's an optional spiritual discipline. I believe we are always wise to check in with God's wisdom before we just start spraying the air with our prayers. Seeking God's wisdom is actually desiring to know His will in every given matter. 'Presumption' is a tool the enemy will use to mess our prayer lives up big time.
This I have learned about God. He loves to be publicly glorified. Answering our prayers and telling others publicly about it with the right spirit is something God delights in our doing. Never cut God short in this department. If we start putting limits on asking and trusting God for things ' we may start believing God has quit doing miracles. What an insult to the Creator of all creativity.
God promises us, 'All things are possible to Him who TRUSTS.' (Mark 9:23)
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