I had a bicycle stolen when I was in junior high school, but it was found a few days later. Last month someone slipped into the church unobserved and stole my briefcase along with a case containing my prescription sunglasses. They probably thought they were getting a laptop computer, and it was bright outside. I had just entered the building, trying to go in opposite directions, so I set the briefcase down at the back of the sanctuary. When I came back about 5-10 minutes later it was gone. I’ve used that bag for many years. It serves as my carry-on bag at the airport so it contained all the little things a person needs, just in case. Everything from pens, highlighters and toiletries to sewing and glasses repair kits. It also contained my Kindle e-book reader and my brand new, just out of the box not 24 hours, iPad 3. I won the iPad in a drawing from Associated Baptist Press. The police said there was little hope in finding it. Technology has a way of tracking these kinds of electronic devices, but my iPad has never phoned home.
The verse from Job soon came to mind: “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away. . .” (Job 1:21) I had bonded with my Kindle, but I had not had the iPad long enough to hardly figure it out. What I found I missed most of all was my journal. I found myself grieving over the loss of my book of lists, ideas, sermon seeds, outlines, projects and notes about some of my imaginary friends from Tepid Springs Baptist Church. (That is my fictional community of life and loss.) So, my special order notebook with six and a half months of scribbling had been taken from me. Then the shooting in Aurora, Colorado took place. Then great fires swept through Oklahoma burning thousands of acres and hundreds of homes and businesses. Perspective matters. In this world I am learning to say “. . . blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Hold things loosely. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.