My oldest son’s favourite book series by a country mile is Lord of the Rings. He read all three of the thick tomes by the time he was ten. By his fifteenth birthday, he had read them three times and was starting again for the fourth time. Crazy, I thought. He read them between playing basketball and ice hockey and table tennis. He read them when he should have been studying. He read them when he should have been snoring. And when I told him they were making three movies about them, I had to peel him off the ceiling.
Shortly after we attended the first movie together, Stephen turned sixteen. One night, I spoke to him of the importance of reaching this milestone. How, like his favourite hobbit Frodo, he would be faced with great temptations and opportunities as he journeyed through the darkness of earth. I said, “I have a small gift for you as a covenant between us that you will walk the way Frodo walked.” And so, I opened a wooden box. Inside was a big fat cigar. No, I’m kidding. It was a genuine replica of the ring – white silver, complete with Elvish engravings. I read a Scripture verse: “So honour the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly” (Joshua 24:14). Then I said, “For sixteen years that’s been our prayer for you, Stephen. That you would honour God and serve Him.” We prayed together. Then I hung the ring from a gold chain and placed it around his neck.
There the ring stayed.
Until one night, Stephen arrived home from school carrying small pieces of the chain. It had busted. The ring was gone. We searched everywhere – along sidewalks and hallways, through classrooms and in cars. But, nothing. It was permanently gone, I knew. Hanging around someone else’s neck. But Stephen began to pray, each time at supper. At breakfast he prayed, believing he’d find it. I hated to doubt, but I’m a grown up. It’s what we do best. Months passed. Then one evening I noticed a particularly wide grin on Stephen’s face. The boy had been walking home from school when a glint of reflected sunlight caught his eye. He held his hand out and opened it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the ring. Oh me of little faith.
I had been praying that he wouldn’t be too disappointed when his prayers weren’t answered. But here Stephen was, asking God to do the impossible, something He has delighted in doing since the dawn of time. If you’ve been praying a long time without seeing results, don’t give up, okay? Steve will tell you that good things come to those who persevere. And each time he looks at that ring, I hope it reminds him to honour God and serve Him wholeheartedly. I hope it reminds him that those who ask, receive. And I hope he never stops believing in the God of the impossible.
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