I come back to it often—The Ring Thing. When I need some reassurance that God is in complete control and that He is utterly faithful, I think back to the seaside saga I observed as a twelve-year-old—and all is well with my soul again.
Living on the beautiful south coast of England, my family had been churned up and changed forever by the conversion of my dad from alcoholic to born-again, on-fire-for-God Christian. It literally happened in one miraculous moment, and had a profound affect on us all. Within several months, I came to realize that even though I considered myself a “pretty good pre-teen” and was certainly no alcoholic, I desperately needed a Saviour, too.
My mum couldn’t deny the power of a changed life in my dad, and she also made the decision to follow Christ. The next bombshell—Dad felt called to go to Bible School.
Looking back, I can only imagine how my poor mom felt—her head still spinning as she observed this new man who now frequented Bible Studies rather than pubs. He strongly believed he was to give up his job, sell everything, and attend Bible School full-time, preferably in Wales, which was four hours away. He simply yearned to preach the gospel and as a brand new convert he needed the tools to do it effectively.
Mom wanted to be near family and familiarity and our new church as they raised my sisters and I. Frostiness and frustration invaded our home as the discussion continued.
They were such new Christians taking a massive step of faith—my sisters and I were merely along for the ride, but The Ring Thing is permanently etched in my memory. It was obvious that things were not peachy between my parents, and the drama escalated one sunny day at the beach. It may have been balmy, but the chill was palpable! Mom had been questioning whether my dad should move to Wales on his own and the rest of us stay behind with our extended family and friends—perhaps just see him on weekends.
Dad was certain that God was calling us as a family. Mom was not convinced. So you can imagine her face when my dad came out of the ocean that afternoon and said, “I’ve lost my wedding ring. It’s in the sea.”
It was as if someone had died. My mom was sure it was a sign from above—God’s lightening bolt—the lost wedding ring signifying the fact that Dad was to go alone on this faith journey! I just remember feeling sick and sad. We all waded into the water and began the futile task of hunting for a small ring on the seabed amidst sand, seaweed, and shells.
Needless to say, the search was fruitless leaving everyone upset and confused. What was God doing? But the next day, we dutifully traipsed down to the beach again; this time my friend and her brother joined our motley crew—they were completely oblivious to the underlying heartache, they just knew we had lost a ring. They joined in our pathetic treasure hunt—the tide had been in and out, hundreds of holidaymakers had dredged along the seabed, but still we searched.
You can’t begin to imagine our shock, joy, disbelief, and elation when my friend’s little brother plucked a circle of gold from under the water and shouted, “Is this it?”
Oh my word. Yes, that was Dad’s wedding ring. And that was one very special miracle for a family of baby Christians who needed to know that God is always faithful, and that He takes care of the details when we trust Him. Dad was married with a family, and God had a plan for us all. Together.
The rest, as they say, is history—Dad went on to be a pastor and evangelist and is still the most on-fire-for-God person I know. And while in Wales, I happened to find a lovely Welsh boy who married me and brought me out to Canada, where we have raised our own family, all the while trusting God’s faithfulness. My dad gave me this verse when we left the UK, just over twenty years ago:
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:9-10)
It was true when we moved from the comfort of the south of England to follow the call to Wales. It was true when we adventured from the UK to start a life in Canada. It was true when our daughter moved to the other side of Canada to pursue her studies six years ago. And now, as my middle child leaves to begin his next chapter at University away from home, it is true. It’s not always easy, but God is in control and I trust Him.
Are you in a time of transition? Life throwing changes your way? Unsure of the new chapter in your life and wondering how on earth you’re going to get through it all? Rest in these Psalm 139 verses… and know that wherever we are—God guides us, and He holds us fast.
He is always faithful. Always.