We experienced a miracle last week!
On Friday afternoon, CJ accidentally left his shoulder bag on a bench during our home school fall kickoff at the Carlsons' house. When he discovered it was missing, everyone joined in the search (both inside and outside). But the bag was not to be found. Then we remembered that my cell phone was in the bag, so CJ tried to call that number. It had been turned off.
At home, CJ used Charly's phone to send a text message, in Chinese, to the missing phone, explaining that he was an American friend who really needed his passport (which was in the bag), so would this person please return it?
We don't know if the thief read CJ's message or not. We do know that God gave this thief a heart of compassion.
On Saturday afternoon, we received a call from a police station several miles away from the scene of the crime. The passport had been turned in by someone who said he found it across the street. The policeman had then been able to look up CJ's contact information in their computer system and find our home phone number.
We praised the Lord for giving this thief a heart of compassion! CJ had been carrying his passport because Charly and I traveled to Lanzhou last week while our kids stayed here with friends. And they took their passports with them in case of an emergency. To get him another passport and visa would have been a lot of ma fan (Chinese for major inconvenience!) So while the bag's other contents (my cell phone, $15, and CJ's MP4 player) were unfortunate to lose, we are incredibly grateful that the passport was returned. It could have so easily ended up in the trash.
This miracle has made me think about the criminal who died on a cross beside Jesus, the one who feared God and recognized that while he was getting what he deserved, Jesus had done nothing to deserve his death. He asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom, and Jesus told him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." ((Luke 23:43)
May God continue to soften the heart of "our thief" so that he comes to full repentance and recognizes Jesus as the Sinless One who bore the punishment that we all deserve.
We believe He can, because our God is a God who changes hearts.
Even the heart of a thief.