I was the Queen of jacks in fourth grade. It was my first real claim to fame. Every single recess, come rain or shine, my friends and I would play jacks. And I always won. Always. It didn't matter we used MY set. My friends all recognized it was superior. A gift from my grandmother, my "deluxe set" was neatly contained in a pink vinyl bag with little white handles. I'm not sure, but I think I caught our classroom's guinea pig eyeing it occasionally. It would have made a great suitcase for him. I didn't take any chances. I stayed far away from his cage. My jacks set was my most prized possession. Nothing else had brought me such respect and popularity.
One day while stomping the competition yet again, the ball I was using bounced off a little piece of gravel on the sidewalk and, to my horror, rolled under the merry-go-round. Trailing after it like toddlers wanting their mommies, my friends and I discovered it wedged between two pieces of metal on the underside. Jumping up and down on the merry-go-round had no effect. Shaking it really hard did nothing. We couldn't get our hands on it, because it was too far in. Poking it with a stick wouldn't budge it. It was so tight it seemed welded into the metal! And then. . .no. . .it couldn't be. . .the bell. It was time to go inside. I was the kind of kid who always followed the rules, but how could I do what was expected of me at a time like this? I was the rope in a tug-of-war contest. Stay with my precious jacks ball or go with the rest of the class? My good side won. On the verge of tears, I followed my friends into our classroom.
I didn't really hear what my teacher was saying after that. All I could think about was my beloved ball, stuck, perhaps forever, under that dusty old piece of playground equipment. I was helpless. Deciding drastic measures were needed, I did what all people do in a crisis--I prayed. Of course I couldn't make my classmates suspicious, so I pretended to tie my shoe. "Dear God,” I prayed as I fiddled with my perfectly tied shoelace, "I don'’t know if You are there or not. But if You are alive and all this God stuff is true, could you somehow bring back my jacks ball?” I felt as comforted as a man going before a firing squad who is told, "Don'’t worry, it'’ll be quick”, but there was nothing else to do.
The name of the boy who knocked on our door a few minutes later escaped me. I only knew him as a fifth-grader. He acted all mature and important, lowering his voice to speak to my teacher. I wasn't impressed. He looked so hot and dirty I was sure his mother would have words for him after school. And they wouldn't be pleasant! I dismissed him and tried to remember what I was supposed to be doing when suddenly my teacher spun around to face the classroom. "Does this belong to any one?” she asked, holding in her hand my slightly mangled jacks ball.
Right before my very eyes, the Red Sea parted. Whoa!
There was no doubt in my mind that day that God exists. He heard the cry about something as insignificant as a jacks ball and cared enough about the little girl who uttered it to do a miracle. He spoke to me that day and I was hooked.
I've been asking Him to do it again and again ever since. And He has. And He can. And He will. He really gets my motor going!
How has God made Himself real to you? Have you asked Him to?