Two weeks ago I went to a theme park in Orlando with my spiritual son Paul, who was visiting me for my birthday. We went to SeaWorld to enjoy Manta, a roller coaster that restrains riders face down while jerking them around at 56 miles an hour. I was ready for the ride of my life, but then I did something really, really stupid.
I left my cell phone in my pocket.
When I boarded the ride I ignored the obvious sign that advises riders to place their personal items in a basket next to the track. Then, sometime after we did a 98-foot pretzel loop over a lake, I realized my phone was gone. It had been sucked out of my shorts by the force of gravity.
My whole life flashed before my eyes. All my personal information was, I assumed, now soaking in a murky Florida pond full of frogs, algae and missing flip-flops. The bored-looking teenager ushering riders out of their seats told me no lost items could be recovered until the park closed that night, but that if it would make me feel better I could file a report with Guest Services.
(He did not smile when he said this; in fact, I detected a bit of a smirk, as if he were saying, "You idiot, no one has ever found their phone after losing it on Manta.")
I filled out the report, and the woman at Guest Services reminded me that park workers do not check the safety nets under the coaster until 9 p.m. She did not smile, either. I had a sinking feeling that my phone was gone forever.
Yet there was a glimmer of faith in my heart, so when Paul and I had lunch in the park we prayed that somehow (an angel?) I could recover my phone. I felt almost guilty asking the Lord to help me, since I had made such a dumb mistake by not securing it. Yet a Bible verse kept coming to my mind, 1 Peter 5:7: "Cast all your care upon Him, because He cares for you."
Paul and I even rode Manta again just to see if we could spot my phone, but that was futile. Finding a needle in a haystack is not something you do while hurtling through space at a high rate of speed. We gave up and went home. I figured I'd call the park the next day for a report.
Then, at 8:30 p.m., the phone rang at my house. It was a guy named Ray, just a random guy who had been at SeaWorld that day along with thousands of other tourists. He said he saw a cell phone in a net hanging above his head near Manta, and he and his friend climbed up and retrieved it. He used Siri to call the last number I had called, and he eventually figured out how to contact me.
My phone, he said, was waiting at Guest Services. When I drove back to SeaWorld to get it, the woman at the counter smiled. She seemed to know we had just witnessed a small miracle.
I'm sharing this story because many of us who know God cares about the big issues in our lives don't expect Him to help us with the little things. I am sometimes tempted to think it is selfish to "bother" God with trivial matters like lost phones or misplaced keys—as if He can only respond to life-and-death situations.
If you have a hard time believing that God cares about the "insignificant" details of your life, consider Matthew 10:30, in which Jesus says: "But the very hairs of your head are numbered." Have you considered the implications of this?
If you are a child of God, He not only knows you by name but He also knows every statistic about you, down to the number of hairs on your head. He knows what's in your bank account. He knows your bills. He knows about your next exam at school and your next project deadline at work. He is with you when you have a flat tire, a dead battery or a missing pet.
God is in the details. Even though He is big and majestic and supremely holy, He is also intensely present in our mundane existence. Lifeless religion says God is too busy running heaven or judging nations to care about little things; yet Jesus told a parable about a man who found his lost sheep and a woman who found her lost coin (Luke 15:1-10).
Don't let dead religion steal the joy of knowing that God cares about every single aspect of your life. Invite Him to be present in the big things and the small things. His promise is: "I will do whatever you ask in My name" (John 14:13). He's not skimpy with His goodness. He's not a God of limitation. Expect to be surprised by His extravagant love.
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.