Have you ever had an impossible prayer answered? Some answered prayers are just miracles. However, some answered prayers defy all the odds. This is one of those.
I was on a missions trip in the Bahamas. We were serving with a local organization called Champs Missions at a local park late in the evening.
I was taking a lot of pictures of the children with my iPhone when suddenly somebody ran in front of me and took my phone out of my hand. At first I thought it was one of the children running. But soon I realized it was a young man stealing my phone.
I reached to try to catch him, but the only thing I caught was his basketball shorts. Though I pulled them down way past appropriate, he hit my hand away and ran into a nearby alley.
The neighborhood was very dangerous so I decided not to follow him. Instead, I ran to tell the missionary, Rick Scheusler, and maybe we could get the police. But Rick started to head down that dark alley. I couldn’t let him go alone, so I followed.
We ran into several young men and questioned them, but nobody saw the guy running away. So, Rick began to put the word on the street that somebody stole a preacher’s phone.
The children at the park identified the man as Joe Black. They all said he was crazy and smoked crack. Later we found out that the police were already looking for him for a murder the week before.
The following day I filed a police report. The next night we returned to the same park, and the police were all over the place. But no iPhone. Our missionary, Rick, told me he had a peace that we would get the phone back. Yeah, right!?
During the following day, we were to do door-to-door witnessing in the streets beside the same park. As we got off the bus, one scraggly man, who called himself Real Man, spoke to one of our women. He told her he knew Joe Black. He smoked crack with Joe Black. He sold drugs with Joe Black. But he didn’t steal with Joe Black. And he wanted to give the phone back to me.
So, when I came up to him, he wanted to make sure I was the guy who owned the iPhone. When I told him I was, he left for a few minutes into the same alley, and returned with my iPhone in his pocket.
He said he didn’t want the cops around his home. I guess police and taking drugs don’t mix. So we thanked him and I got my iPhone back.
What are some lessons I learned from this experience?
1. There’s some really bad people in the world. We were in Joe Black’s neighborhood helping the families and children. But he was so addicted to drugs, he stole from somebody who was helping him. Some people are just bad in spite of the good things that happen to them. I was fortunate that I had my security code enabled (fingerprint) and phone backed up. Keep your personal information secure.
2. God lets some really bad things happen in the world. The fact that God let this guy steal my phone put a lot of the people on our missions trip in a bad mood. Why did God let it happen? We weren’t doing anything wrong. We were doing what He wanted. But God sometimes lets bad things happen even to people who are doing good.
3. God will always overrule the bad things if He wants to. Just because God lets something bad happen, doesn’t mean He’s not in control. At any time He can change the situation. This time He did. Against all odds, I got my phone back. We all thought Joe Black had already sold it to someone else, or worse, broke it apart. But it was returned with no damage and no personal info taken.
In spite of the bad that happened, God did some amazing things that week. Several were saved and lives were changed. Mine was!