Our family’s vacation this summer was a five-day explore of western Nebraska, our family’s new home state.
We swung around the north edge to see a waterfall on the Niobrara River. We were told to check out Fort Robinson, and had the treat of going on a horseback trail ride with only us four and the guide. And we made sure to see the iconic geological landmarks of the Monument and Chimney Rock.
But the most memorable story was made on the day we stopped by Chadron State Park. This story continues to remind us of God’s love and care for us!
It was going to get really hot (this is why we ditched tenting for hotels), so we arrived at Chadron in the morning. I had researched ahead, and there was a nice mile-and-a-half loop hike that had good reviews and was a doable treck for a short day visit.
The landscape was beautiful. Pine trees grow there, similar to the ones that we enjoyed in eastern Oregon. The terrain is hilly, with creamy colored rugged rocky formations jutting skyward. The trees are spread out, but it is truly a forest.
We embarked on our short hike, with backpacks and water. The girls were having fun chatting, and sped ahead of Richard and I. We took the opportunity to hold hands and enjoy the beautiful place we’d already claimed we’d return to each summer.
The trail loop led upward, leading us along a ridge with occasional large rocky formations. About midway, we paused in the shadow of one and then I continued on, but Richard paused. The sun beamed down and it was getting hot. I remembered, “Let’s stop for a drink of water,” and returned to the shade of the rocky overhand with Richard.
No sooner did I reach him than my phone rang. We’d long lost sight of the girls. “That must be the girls.” I answered and heard Aubrey’s voice; she laughed nervously, “I can’t find dad’s ring. I think I lost it.”
This wasn’t just Aubrey’s ring. It was Richard’s as a teen, a gift his father bought him on one of their camping trips. He really liked it and had thought it was lost until last summer. His father passed away a little over a year ago, and when his mother was looking at jewelry with the girls he spied it among the other pieces! Aubrey asked if she could have it, and Richard gave it to her. A ring, already lost and found, and now her favorite.
Richard overheard Aubrey on the phone. In the next couple seconds, he prayed a silent prayer and my mind spun as I thought about the trail, all that we’d covered already, and all that was ahead between the girls and us.
My eyes unthinkingly glanced down on the trail to my right. What I saw was hardly believable, yet I felt calm.
It was the ring.
Just sitting there! In the dust near the edge of the path. In the first spot my eyes set on, hardly a second after I heard Aubrey’s voice!
I chuckled, and didn’t manage to put it in words for a few seconds while she anxiously waited.
Against all odds, we found the ring!
“It’s right here,” I told her, and we were all incredulous.
What a gift from God! While I don’t believe it’s rings He’s so interested in, it was an expression of His love and care for us.
This gift reminds us that God sees us, He cares for us, and He will provide.
He is Lord of our lives, and He is able to work the timing out.
We almost passed that spot, but then turned back for a water break in the shade.
At the same time, near the end of the trail, Aubrey discovered her empty pocket and decided to call.
And the call went through.
Place, time, people, provisions all working together perfectly.
We paused and praised God, then continued to hike the remainder of the loop. We joyfully handed Aubrey the ring at the end, and our family will remember this story as a reminder of God’s care for us.
Many rings are not found, many problems aren’t easily solved, and we sometimes have to wait a long time to see answers. Often, we live by faith without yet seeing answers to our questions and prayers.
But, remembering what God has done in the past helps us hold on to faith during these hard times of waiting.
Sometimes, God gives us good gifts along the way to encourage our faith and reveal His character. To help us hold on to Him. And this was on such moment!
God sees you and cares for you in whatever circumstances you find yourself today. He is the One who looks after you. You may be waiting, but He can work out the timing in just the right way. We can count on Him to provide for us.
“So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.'” Genesis 16:13