Last Thursday I went to the bank to deposit some cash. After that, I spent some time at Starbucks doing some writing. And after that, I went to Chick-fil-A to get lunch, and then I drove straight home. From there I drove to work, and then back home again.
The next day, I couldn’t find my debit card anywhere.
I knew I used it at the bank when I made my deposit. I knew I didn’t use it at Starbucks because I had a gift card. And I knew I used it at Chick-fil-A because I had the receipt. How could I not find it? I was so confused, because it should have been either at home or in my car.
For the next several days, I tore my car apart looking for it. I ripped up every mat and carpet, I scoured under every seat and wiped every corner. At home I looked through the trash and did a full rummage of my room. I searched absolutely everywhere; in every purse and backpack, through every item of clothing, and still I couldn’t find it.
It’s important here to note that I am not the type of person who loses things. I know there are people who are more prone to forgetfulness and that’s ok, but I am NOT one of those people. I keep a steady record of all my things and I know instinctively where they are at all times. The only time I lost a phone was in the 7th grade, and it never happened again. I just don’t lose things.
So the fact that I lost my debit card was increasingly frustrating, because who I thought myself to be (a person who doesn’t lose things) and how I’ve acted (losing my debit card) have now contradicted each other. Terribly irritating.
Finally, after 4 days, and concluding that it had maybe somehow fallen out of my car or gotten thrown away with the trash, I gave up. I went to the bank, begrudgingly allowed them to take out the $5 replacement fee, and got a new card made.
Last night, I sat at my desk to do some writing. I stopped for a moment to think about the Word of God, since my Bible was sitting next to me on my desk. In fact, my Bible had been with me all weekend long. I took it with me to church for a conference I attended, where I used it as a table top for my journal. I had it on the bed with me when I watched church online on Sunday, and now I had set it on the desk next to my computer.
I looked down at my Bible, and I was thinking about a scripture I wanted to look up. As I opened it up, I was literally thinking this thought:
“This Word has absolutely everything we need. It is life, it is hope, and it has all the answers. The Word of God is everything we need in life.”
As I flipped through the pages, something peeked out near the front binding. I have lots of loose pages in my Bible; different things I’ve written and notecards I use as bookmarks.
But this was different.
And there, in all its Bank of Oklahoma, red, white and plastic glory, was my ever-loving, God-forsaken debit card.
Right smack dab in the pages of my freaking Bible.
When I saw it I literally said out loud— “No….no. NO! NO!!!!”
In that moment I imagined God doing one of those numbers where you pull a hilarious prank on someone and you’re waiting for them to figure it out, so you’re sitting back casually but looking intently for the light to turn on in their brain that they’ve been pranked. When it starts to turn on, you put your hand over your mouth to keep yourself from bursting out in laughter, and then when the joke finally lands, you don’t hold back anymore and you let out a giant gush of air followed by howls of laughter and knee slapping and crying from laughing so hard.
Somehow I just knew, that is exactly what God was doing.
He bamboozled me.
I sat in silent, utter disbelief, hands over my mouth, covering my eyes, for literally five whole minutes.
All the frustration of having lost my stupid debit card culminated in that moment. I even told the teller at the bank that I never lose things, and he joked with me that “it always shows up after you get the replacement,” and I literally said “ha ha, I better not find it! That would make me SO mad!” I could. not. believe it. How had I missed it? How was this happening?
After my bewilderment subsided enough for my brain to start working again, I asked myself the question: “So, what’s the lesson here?”
The truth is that the lesson here is so painfully obvious, I can hardly write it out.
My Bible traveled with me almost everywhere I went this weekend. I even opened it at one point, and I remember running my fingers along the edge of it briefly, briskly, but obviously not thoroughly, when I was looking for my debit card. But I clearly did not really, truly, wholeheartedly open up the Word of God for the past 4 days. All it took for my debit card to fall out was a simple turning of pages, not even at an angle. And I hadn’t done that for the whole time my debit card was “lost.”
I have been so humbled and convicted through this simple prank (yes, prank, because I believe that’s what God did) that though I preach so often about spending time in the Word daily, I had to lose my debit card (something extremely frustrating to me) for God to gently remind me that I so often fail at it too.
So here it is, the painfully obvious, yet stunningly liberating truth: all the answers we seek, for all that we could ever need, are found in the Word of God. If we would just take the time to seek and look, to read and meditate, to sit and ponder, to listen, we would find what we so desperately look for. All the ripping up of mats and carpets and all the scouring of drawers and closets and all the searching through trash we do is useless and feeble and mindless and fake. Nothing holds the answers to the problems of life. Nothing can give you what you seek for and long. Only in the Word of God do we come to be filled and filled to overflowing. We can rip and tear up every part of our lives, every corner of our cities, every relationship we have, and never truly find what we’re looking for. We can spend entire days, weeks, months and years in a constant state of desperate seeking. And the answer will have been with us all along, in a dusty old book, with words laid out in red. Search all you want, for as long as you want, for whatever it is you seek.
You will not find it anywhere but within the binding of that book.