I had a really interesting experience on Wednesday of our vacation. Gina and I left the boys with Granny and Granddad so we could swim in the ocean for a little while. We took our stuff down to the beach and left it under the tent we had set up. I had noticed during my last couple of times to swim in the ocean that my wedding ring felt kind of loose on my finger. I decided to take it off and placed it in my hat. After we were done swimming, I dried off and put my hat back on without even thinking about my ring. In fact, I didn't even notice that I wasn't wearing it until we had been in the beach house about 30 minutes. I rushed back to the beach without telling anyone why I was going and searched furiously in the sand for about 30 minutes. It became clear to me that this was going to be really hard to find. I came back to the house and broke the news to Gina about what I'd done. She was understanding, but she wanted to go back down to look for it. We recruited a few others to come with us, but after quite awhile we became convinced that the ring was gone. Later that day, I looked out the window and saw Don by our tent. I had this sudden thought, if I don't go back and look while the tent is still up (which gives me at least a general idea where the ring might be) I will definitely not find it again. So, I went down there one more time and began sifting through the sand. After several minutes, I saw in the sand the faint outline of a circle. I dropped down and dug around it, and as the sand fell from my hands, a small silver ring -- my wedding ring -- appeared. I was so excited that I ran back to the beach house without even telling Don, Kendall or Zach, who were on the beach with me, that I found the ring. I also forgot to put my shoes back on and I stubbed my bare toe on the boardwalk pretty badly. I ran into the house, tracking blood the whole way, ascended the stairs and just stood in front of everyone. Gina could tell immediately what had happened. It was a really cool experience.
If you are familiar at all with the two stories Jesus tells about people who found something they thought was lost (the widow and her lost coin and the father of the prodigal son), you know that both people ran with joy. I don't think this detail was randomly added to these stories. After finding my ring, my first response was to run back home and tell people what happened because I was convinced the ring was gone forever. I think Jesus included this detail on purpose to illustrate the emotions God feels when we choose Him over ourselves, the world or thousands of other things competing for our attention. Pure joy and elation, the natural reaction to which is running toward the lost object in order to end the lostness as soon as possible.