A Stolen Radio

There are so many admonitions in the Bible about praying for and loving the unlovely. I’ve often wondered if God doesn’t bring some of the mean-spirited people or those who “despitefully use us” along our pathways just so we can pray for them.

One Friday I was working diligently to paint the name of my pastor’s outreach center on the marquee of the old indoor theater he used. It was an hour’s drive both ways, and I could only spend a few hours a day working on it.

On this particular day, I had arrived several hours before the Friday evening service to get some extra painting in. I had put my radio/tape recorder on a table just inside the front door and locked up so no one could get in while I was up working on the ladder. Unbeknownst to me, one of the musicians came a couple hours early. He unlocked the front doors and propped them open to let fresh air into the building. By the time I came down from the ladder to clean up over an hour later, my radio had disappeared!

My pastor felt bad about it and sat down next to me right before the service started and asked me all about it. I told him about putting it inside the door and the guitarist arriving early, and that I hadn’t been able to find it anywhere. The guitarist had seen it when he opened up, but then thought that I had put it away.

“Unfortunately,” I told my pastor, “I didn’t have the power cord with it. Whoever took it will only be able to use it with batteries.” My pastor laughed at that, and then went up to start the service.

I was sorry to lose my tape recorder because I wouldn’t be able to listen to my cassettes anymore, or to my pastor’s daily radio broadcast. More importantly though, I felt that God had allowed the loss to bring someone to my attention who needed prayer. I figured the recorder was gone for good, but I prayed God’s blessings and help on the person who stole it.

Maybe he’ll at least listen to the tape that was in it, I thought. I couldn’t remember if it was the Gospel of Matthew, or one of the music tapes I’d last been playing. “Lord, bless that person and help them find you. Meet their needs, especially their need for you.” I prayed diligently every day for the person.

The next Friday I came for the service thirty minutes early and was sitting a few rows from the front when my pastor came and sat next to me again. “You’re never going to believe this, but your radio showed up again.”


“It wasn’t there when we arrived, but when I came out of the office later, your radio was sitting right there on the table.” He handed it to me right then and there.

The cassette tape was gone, but otherwise everything was in order. I was amazed! I hadn’t even asked the Lord for it back! I had just spent the week praying for the person who had been brought along my path who obviously needed prayer.