The God of Missing Boxes


(Thank you to my mom, Marilyn Ehle, for the title of this post. She is a far better writer than I, with numerous articles published online, including and several at

I confess that I have often wondered whether God answers prayer. More specifically, I have wondered whether he answers my prayers. That’s a big confession for someone who has been a born-again, Bible-believing, conservative, evangelical Christian his whole life. I’ve heard all the Sunday School lessons and sermons and Bible studies on how, why, when, and for whom God answers prayer. I know the three standard answers (Yes, No, and Wait). Sometimes, though, it seems that the No answers outweigh the Yes ones, and my tendency too often is to question the God Who Answers rather than the one who prays.

There is a constant struggle in my mind about what to pray about, and even moreso about when I should solicit the prayers of others. So when we finally moved into a semi-permanent home after moving to Portland, and I couldn’t find a particular box, I waited a while before asking people to pray about it. Now this wasn’t just a box of kitchen utensils or DVDs that we wanted; it was a file box, and it held … well, in some respects, it held our whole lives, or at least the evidence of them. Everything that had been in a safe deposit box was in this file box: passports, Air Force discharge papers, birth and marriage certificates, Social Security cards, tax papers…pretty much every piece of paper that would prove that we existed! When I could no longer get the box out of my mind, I e-mailed a number of friends and family asking them to pray specifically for two things: my Greek mid-term exam and that I would find the box.

Seldom have I experienced a more clear, immediate, and positive answer to prayer! The next morning, after a final hour of study, I strode confidently into my Greek class, whipped through the mid-term, and waltzed out just as confident. Result: 79%. Considering the scores on most of my daily quizzes, that was a clear sign that God had smiled on me! That afternoon, my son asked for help finding the box with his GI Joes. As we searched the garage and cut open several boxes, I looked down into one and – to my exceedingly great delight – there was the missing file!
I confess that for a brief moment I wanted to go e-mail out a few other prayer requests, while the prayer engine was still warm! But that feeling passed quickly as I marveled, with an almost bewildered gratitude, at The One Who Hears, The God of Missing Boxes.

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