They were a gift from a dear friend.
A pair of earrings, handmade by some artist in her local town. Two tiny butterflies against a turquoise-colored disc, accented by a tiny pearl.
My friend lives in another state, so we were not together for my birthday. When I saw her a month later, she surprised me with this gift.
The next day, she and her husband planned to come to our trailer for dinner. But she woke up “under the weather.” She spent the whole day in bed. With her husband’s OK, we decided to go over to their house just before dinnertime. To her husband’s surprise, we offered to bring the whole dinner with us… hoping she might feel up to some nourishment at some point.
As we packed the meal and prepared to go, I put on the beautiful earrings she had given me. They were a “loop” design for pierced ears, with an elongated wire that hung down after passing through the ear. They were held secure in the package by a white rubber “stopper” on each wire.
As I placed the first one in my ear, a thought came to me: “Use the stopper to secure it to your ear.” I brushed the thought aside. The stoppers seemed “tacky” compared to the earrings. I thought they must just be part of the packaging.
Turns out, I was wrong.
My friend did feel well enough to join us for dinner. (No hugging, though. She was afraid she might be contagious). Halfway through dinner, I asked her (with a smile): “How do you like my earrings?” She answered (with a pained look): “I noticed. I didn’t want to say anything to spoil your meal. I only see one.”
Sure enough. One of the earrings was gone. Oh, NO! Where could it have fallen out? In one of countless places. What is the likelihood I will ever find it? Virtually nonexistent… apart from some miracle of Your Grace, Abba.
You know I have prayed for that miracle. But I have another, far more significant prayer on my heart today:
To grow in my ability to hear Your Voice… and to recognize it, the moment I do.
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Matthew 11:15)
Because the thought that came to me last night had been Your Voice speaking to me… quietly, yet distinctly. And I had brushed aside what turned out to be Your clear instruction, thinking I knew better. I now have one lost earring as proof that I could have — and should have — listened.
“Hold on to instruction, do not let it go: guard it well, for it is your life.” (Proverbs 4:13)
A small lesson, perhaps, in the overall scheme of things. But what about when the stakes are higher? When recognizing and heeding Your Voice (or not) carries greater consequences? Perhaps, even, consequences of life and death?
Lost and Found.
Last night, I lost a treasured earring. But I found a Greater Treasure — a Priceless Truth.
You are speaking to me. Sometimes quietly; sometimes loudly… but always distinctly. And You are teaching me — patiently, faithfully, relentlessly — to listen and truly hear.
“In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel… Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding; those who complain will accept instruction.” (Isaiah 29:18-19,24)