When I was pastor of the Macedonia Baptist Church in Rolla during the 1990s, I became friends with fellow pastor Rob Hobson, who lived about 10 miles away.
He shared how his family had taken a once-in-a-lifetime vacation a few years before we met. It was special because Rob’s wife’s brother graduated from West Point that year. Rob and his wife had a nice camera so they were asked to take pictures of the event for the entire family.
After leaving West Point, they stopped in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to tour the famous Civil War Battlefield. They enjoyed learning facts about the monumental battle. However, one of them set down their camera bag and walked off without it. When they realized their mistake they returned, but of course it was gone. Even worse than losing the camera equipment, was the fact that they had lost family pictures that could not be replaced.
Rob admitted he was surprised when one of his daughters asked, “Dad don’t you think we should pray?” Rob admitted only to himself that he did not want to pray. He was confident prayer would do no good. However, he did not feel right telling his young daughter that, so he said, “You’re right, let’s pray about it.” And they did.
It was already the end of the day so the family checked into their motel. The next morning they traveled about 100 miles before stopping for breakfast mid-morning. Rob’s friendly young daughter immediately struck up a conversation with their waitress, telling how her uncle had graduated from West Point and how they lost their camera bag at Gettysburg as well as all their pictures of the big event.
As she finished her story the family at the next table got up to leave… but soon returned. They came to the Hobson’s table and said, “We couldn’t help overhearing how you lost your camera at Gettysburg, We found it. Your address is inside the bag. We planned to mail it to you when we got home, but since it is obviously yours, here it is.” The moment was one of those rare experiences when the family’s faith was tested and strengthened at the same time.
I will be the first to admit that faith can be tough. Trusting God when continuing to believe seems foolish is not easy. The writer of Hebrews described faith this way: “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NLT)
In short, faith is trusting God when we do not see how he could possibly meet our current needs. Rob’s family, especially his daughter, demonstrated remarkable faith when they prayed although an answer seemed highly unlikely. The way God answered their prayer reminds us to keep trusting God no matter how impossible our request may seem to us.