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“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16 NKJV)
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:15)
I was charging up Mount Freycinet in Freycinet National Park, Tasmania, racing the light. I had to stake out a good composition before sunset. Once on top I had an amazing view of the Hazards and Wineglass Bay to the northwest and Schouten Island and Maria Island to the south.
I took some test shots and finally decided on this one for sunset. As I finished up my reconnaissance mission I stood at the edge of a “cliff” made out of large boulder piles descending about 30m (100′) beneath me. As I put my lens cap back on I thanked God for giving me the strength to climb this mountain and for the beautiful weather he had provided for me.
In the middle of thanking God, all of a sudden my lens cap popped off! It disappeared down a narrow crevice between the 4m (13′) boulders I was standing on, and for the next 5 seconds all I could hear was ‘clink, clink, scrape, clink, scrape, clink, kerplunk’.
“OH NO, Lord!!”
I thought to myself, ‘….That thing is gone….long gone. What do I do now??? This is my best, most expensive lens, and I still have another whole day of backpacking! How am I going to protect the delicate front lens element for the rest of my trip?? My heart sank. Why this terrible misfortune in the middle of a prayer of thanking God??
Even though I had resigned myself to the fact that, apart from a complete miracle, my lens cap was gone forever, I thought I should at least try and look for it. I had heard the lens cap fall a very long way, for at least 5 seconds. It had to have descended many metres through a labyrinth of many narrow, inaccessible crevices between many boulders.
So I prayed my heart out to the only One who knew where my lens cap was, “Lord, PLEASE help me find my lens cap! I need it so badly. I bought this lens because I wanted to take photographs to glorify you, the Awesome Creator. PLEASE God, remember me and remember that I am doing this for your glory. PLEASE, God, help me find it.”
After my earnest prayer I looked down from where I was standing and thought, ‘How on earth am I actually going to get down this ‘cliff’ of gigantic boulders? Finally, I found a way and carefully descended about 15m (50′) onto a ledge. The very first place I looked was into a crevice on this ledge AND THERE, WITHIN ARM’S REACH, WAS MY LENS CAP!!!
PRAISE GOD!!! HE HEARD ME AND IMMEDIATELY ANSWERED MY PRAYER!!! IT WAS A MIRACLE!!!
I hugged my little lens cap and thanked and praised the Lord who found it for me!! I sat there on that ledge thinking to myself about the miracle God had just done for me, all alone on top of a mountain on the edge of the earth. I thought about how ecstatically happy I was over my little lens cap, and it immediately reminded me of how much God rejoices over his lost sons and daughters when he finds them. God’s love for lost sinners far exceeds my love for my lens cap, and his joy over their return far exceeds my joy over my happy reunion with it.
Jesus told these parables to help us understand how much loves us and desires a loving, personal relationship with us:
(For more information on how to enter into a personal relationship with God, please see “Message”.)
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:4-7)
Jesus also told this parable of “The Prodigal Son”:
‘There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’
So he got up and went to his father.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.
But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:11-24)
An additional note on a later date:
A year after this I was on a beach at night to do some astral photography. I had my camera around my neck as I walked along the beach. After I was done, I went to put my lens cap on and realized it had popped off somewhere in the dark. Oh no! Not again! Instantly, I remembered how God had answered my prayer and found my lens cap on Mt. Freycinet. So once again I earnestly prayed, and God performed another miracle on my behalf! By God’s guiding hand, I managed to quickly find my black lens cap about 100m (330′) away in the darkness of night even though it was tangled up in some roots in the underbrush on the trail to the beach. Amazing! Miraculous! Thank you, God!
And as long as I’m telling testimonies of God’s personal love for me in finding my lost items (most often, my car keys), I will share my most amazing testimony:
I walked about 8 km (5 miles) along a beach zig zagging from the sand dunes right down to the water’s edge. When I turned around I realized my car keys (along with every other key I owned) had fallen out of my pocket sometime on my 8 km walk. OH NO!!! How would I EVER find them, especially with the rising tide? Only God knew where they were, so I EARNESTLY prayed he would somehow help me find them before the pounding surf dragged them away. I began running, trying to retrace my zig-zagging steps, many of which were already wiped out by the tide. Then, about 3 km (2 miles) later a very tiny, bright shimmering thing caught my eye beneath the waves. I shouted for joy when I discovered it was the final 1 cm of one of my keys sticking above the sand under the water. All my other keys had been buried. PRAISE THE LORD!!!
God sees each one of us (Psalm 139). He knows everything about us. How much more overjoyed is God when he finds his lost sons and daughters.
Here are two beautiful songs about God’s joy in being reunited with his lost sons and daughters: