lost and found
By Sammy Jordan Project Lead, Hope for Every Home
Discover how Sammy’s lost item and a Facebook post helped someone find God.
Have you ever lost something important or special? I remember losing my first ever Sindy doll when I was about four years old. I’d put her on the bed before bath time and when I got back, she had disappeared! As a four-year-old, I couldn’t understand it. We looked everywhere. In the end, I put it down to fairies (I was already well acquainted with the tooth fairy, you see)! My two older cousins were staying with us at the time, but only recently did my mum confess that she has always suspected one of them took it!
In my first week at university in Oxford, I lost something a little more important than a Sindy doll - my purse. Suddenly, my feelings of vulnerability were amplified. I was in a new city, with new people, plucked from my native Greater Manchester and finding myself in a far grander, posher place than I was used to. I still remember the sickening feeling in my stomach. A rising wave of emotion overwhelmed me. I was shaken and felt unsafe.
A few weeks ago, I lost something yet again, something very special. Somewhere between the local hospital car park and the local community centre car park, I dropped my engagement ring. I’d been dashing from visiting my mother-in-law to chaira community group meeting. As I sat down to start the meeting, I felt it missing. I’m a ring twiddler and it wasn’t there to twiddle! The same tide of emotion began to rise but I kept a lid on it, confident my ring would be in my coat sleeve, having taken it off in a hurry. When it wasn’t there, the floodgates opened. My ring had never been expensive, even when new, but I’d always loved it and knew it wouldn’t be easy to replace.
Arriving home sobbing, my poor husband was quite taken aback at the wreck in front of him, and quickly dashed out of the house to spend his lunch hour on his hands and knees in two car parks! But nothing. We’ve had quite a lot to deal with as a family recently, and losing my ring brought me to tears . I told God that it didn’t make sense. Given everything else we were dealing with, why did I have to lose the ring now? I decided that there had to be a purpose to it and that I would give God the opportunity to show up and do his stuff!
I put the following post on Facebook:
I don’t consider myself a social media ‘luvvie’. I use it for work and community things but I’ve always been too busy, boring and introverted to post photos of what I’m eating or where I’m on holiday. However, Facebook seemed a good way of putting the word out both on my community group page, where we have over a thousand members, and more widely. People responded! They posted the usual emojis, shares and comments, including lots of sympathy and empathy for the loss of something so sentimental… but no ring found.
My husband came home from Sainsbury’s with a pack of plastic replacements, bless him… but they were too big. I put my great grandma’s engagement ring on (more expensive and much older than mine)… but it wasn’t the same. It filled the gap on my finger, but not the gap in my heart. People asked expectantly if it had turned up and I felt like I was letting them down when I had to say ‘No’.
Tuesday afternoon I was back in the hospital car park visiting my mother-in-law, when my phone pinged. It was a WhatsApp message from a neighbour and to my surprise, I saw a picture of a ring…my ring! She didn’t expect it to be mine but checked just in case.
It turns out that God answered two prayers in one. You see, she had also been going through a tough time, and as she was walking along, she had asked God to give her a sign that he’s real. In that moment her daughter brought the ring to her. Found in the community centre car park, on a path I've never walked along and in perfect condition. My friend says she knew it was a message from God and has felt so peaceful ever since… even though when she got home she couldn’t help crying!
Cue another Facebook post
This post attracted a lot of attention with ‘likes’, ‘loves’ and so many comments! Neighbours stopped me in the street to ask about it, including my Muslim neighbour who said she couldn’t stop thinking about it. The day before my ring was found, I’d started thinking about a talk I had to give on Trinity Sunday about how we experience and understand God. Feeling prompted, I asked my 'finder’ friend whether she’d like to share the story of my lost ring from her perspective… and she agreed.
Then her story grew even more special. On her way to school that day, her little boy had already found a shiny five pence piece, which he called his ‘treasure’. When her daughter came out of school she presented her mum with ‘treasure’ she had found at lunchtime. Her brother showed her his shiny treasure from earlier, so she declared that she wanted to find shiny treasure too. That’s how she came to be looking on the ground and then found my ring! As I listened to my friend, I sensed God saying that my ring and the ‘treasure’ were a metaphor for her life. She has been searching for the treasure of the Kingdom of God. I asked my friend about it and her response was that since finding the ring, she had felt ‘such a sense of peace’. Talking it through, we determined that this is because she’s not searching for God anymore, she knows he exists; now she is exploring who he is.
Since last summer, when I visited the land where The Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will be built. Answered prayers - Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer I’ve been waiting for the right answered prayer to submit for my brick. Of course they told me that they need all sorts of answers to prayer and ‘everyday’ answers are fine; but I felt I had to wait and would know the right time. When my friend found my ring I knew it was time.
The Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will be made up of one million bricks, which the team have allocated to every village, town and city in the country. Eastleigh, where I live, has eleven thousand bricks to fill and my ring story is only one of them. Your story could fill a brick too. Turn your answered prayers into bricks and help make hope visible by clicking the above link.
If, like me, you often have conversations with friends and neighbours who don’t yet know Jesus, remember there’s still the latest HOPE for All magazine to offer, with a Wimbledon teaser on the cover, featuring Emma Raducanu. It offers a great mix of celebrity stories, articles, prizes and can open the door to start talking about the big questions of faith.". HOPE shop : Hope for All Magazine 2022 (hopetogether.org.uk)