In July 2019 I learned that some jewelry I had left in the USA with my son had been stolen (we live in Burundi, Africa). Together with the help of the local detective, my son located the items at a local pawn shop. After speaking with the owner and proving that the items were indeed mine and stolen, a hold was placed on them pending resolution of the case. In the meanwhile, I wrote a personal statement and sent it in to the investigating detective. I waited to travel Stateside for our usual bi-yearly itineration in order to hopefully resolve the issue. We were set to arrive in September that year and would work on collecting the jewelry at that time.
When we finally arrived in town and managed to talk to the detective face-to-face, we learned that retrieving our property would be a bit more complicated than we had originally imagined. The owner of the shop had offered to “give” us our property if we paid him $500.00. We felt such a sum was unfair and followed the detective’s advice to file papers at the courthouse to get the property returned to us. The shop owner was resolute and would not return the stolen property. We were given a date to appear before a judge on the 24th of October, 2019.
Before A Judge
I found myself standing on the appointed day at a podium next to the pawn shop owner before a judge. The whole process for me was nerve wracking. My husband (Jamie), who had pushed for us to get the items returned in the first place, has the emotional strength of an army. His mantra throughout the process was, “It’s not their jewelry! We are going to get it back!” I followed his lead, all the while feeling wobbly and anxious about what the actual outcome would be.
I am an Enneagram 2w1 personality for those who might be interested, it may shed light on my reaction!
Yes, the necklace and bracelet were mine. Yes, they were stolen and yes I wanted them back. However, I also knew that things don’t always turn out as we hope or plan. My negativity took over “helping” me to prepare for disappointment. I went so far as saying, “Let them keep it!” when the shop owner refused to return in voluntarily. Jamie would not hear of it and off we went to the courthouse.
Since the jewelry was mine, I was the one called to stand at the podium. I knew Jamie would most likely have done a better job than me in explaining the whole situation. I did my level best to explain my account of the whole situation. I kept things truthful, simple and to-the-point. There was no need for anything more or less, I reckoned, as a little part of me hoped that the right thing would happen.
Remember The Law
When it was time for the shop owner to speak, his words were loud, coarse and shaded. The judge, while she had pity on him that he had paid $1,100.00 for the items and had lost money, had no pity on him when it came to her reminding him of the law. He had to return the jewelry to me without pay. They were mine and it was wrong, against the law, for him to keep them.
An order was written on the spot and handed to both parties ordering the shop to return the items to me free of any charge. About an hour later, I found myself wearing the necklace and bracelet, a bit embarrassed at my pessimism throughout the process.
Why did I doubt You, Lord?
Trying To See
Luke 19:3,4 NASB “Zacchaeus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way.”
I was trying hard to see Jesus but I was just too short to see above the tree line. I thought my problem was not of any consequence. A necklace and bracelet have no value in light of the lives of the children we feed in Burundi and Malawi or the schools that we are opening. It seemed so trivial. Yet I hoped that somehow those unnecessary items would silently make their way home without any fuss. So, like Zacchaeus, I had to climb up just a bit higher to see Him and recognize what He was doing. Just like He did for Zacchaeus, Jesus came home on that afternoon at the courthouse to eat with me at our table.
Since the impossible return of my necklace and bracelet, I’ve taken up a new habit. Whenever things seem intractable in the natural I open the box where I keep the jewelry. My mind then races back to the day when God returned those things to me. If He took care of me before, He surely will again.
He will for you too.