Stories & Commentaries

Because He Cares

How a missing laptop and answered prayer served as a reminder that Jesus cares for us.

stock photo of laptop on airport seat

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On a Friday afternoon after flying home from a week of meetings, I discovered that my laptop was missing. Panic hit. The last time I’d backed up my computer was two and a half months ago. So much work had happened since then. Committees, emails, documents, all were gone.

My mind turned heavenward. “Jesus, if you can make an axe head float,” I prayed, remembering a Bible story from my childhood, “You can easily get my computer back into my hands.”

I called Southwest Airlines at the airport, gave them my flight number and told them which seat pocket it was left in, but no laptop had been found. And by then, the flight was already enroute to its next destination.

The lost item form online asked for serial numbers, stickers, or identifying marks, but I didn’t know any of those things, and Southwest informed me, by email and in person when I drove to the airport, that they had not found any computers like mine.

On Monday, I went to work and the helpful IT team had a brand-new computer set up for me. We uploaded files from backup drives, and I got back to work. That’s when I started to realize how much I had lost: documents from the NAD Youth and Young Adult Ministries, camp committee, the 180 Symposium, and the CALLED Pastors’ Family Convention, among many other initiatives.

In my morning solitude times with Jesus, I began wrestling with soul-searching questions. “Lord, does the work I do make a difference?” I asked. I started to wonder if the loss of my computer was a sign. Maybe God wanted to remind me that relationships matter more than committees and documents. Was it time for me to make a change? “Jesus,” I prayed. “If You want my computer to come back to me, You can do it.”

An amazingly helpful IT worker told me the serial number of my lost computer, and informed me that that the laptop did have a North American Division sticker, hidden where I hadn’t seen it. But I didn’t bother to add those details to my lost item report with the airline. What was the chance that my computer would be found, even with the sticker? Not much, I reasoned.

A Persistent Thought and Unexpected Outcome

A week after I lost my computer, Southwest sent me another update on my lost item report. My computer had not been found. It was no surprise to me. I was moving on: trying to adjust to my new computer, an Apple instead of a PC, hunting for documents I had emailed as attachments, and re-saving them into my new file system. 

Still, a thought nagged at me. Shouldn’t I at least update my lost item report with the serial number and description of the sticker? I shrugged it off at first. What was the point? Someone had probably stolen that computer right out of the seatback pocket. But the thought persisted. Finally, I logged into my Southwest account and added the details, not expecting anything to happen.

The second week rolled in, and I was struggling. I was trying to keep up with new keyboard operations, filing changes, screen zoom, and all the differences between the PC and Apple operating systems. It was a mess. I was a mess, the new computer was a mess, and my work efficiency was a mess. Emails were building up, and my work was coming apart; but I was determined to push through, pray through, and believe that things would get better. If God wanted things to change, it was all up to Him.

Then on Tuesday, another update on my lost item report popped up in my inbox. It opened with the words, “Your lost item has been found.”

“What?” I stared at the screen in shock. “Could it be?”

I quickly logged into my account, paid the shipping fee, and my computer was on its way.

Two days later, the laptop arrived at my home. As I took it out of the box and held it in my hands, words bubbled up in my mind. “If I can make an axe head float, I can easily get your computer back in your hands.” God had answered my prayer.

Complex Questions

I experienced a miracle. But that miracle has led to deeper, more complex questions that I don’t have simple answers for.

Why would Jesus give me back my inanimate computer, without a scratch on it, but allow children to be killed in a school shooting that same week?

If Jesus can bring a lost computer back home, why does He allow the war in Ukraine to cause such massive destruction and loss of life?

Since Jesus can keep a computer from being broken why do so many couples and family relationships come apart and break into pieces?

What is going on behind the scenes? What is happening that I can’t clearly see?

Maybe Jesus is working miracles for people in the war, even if we don’t hear about them? Maybe He already has someone in place to help the friends and family we worry about?

Today, I’m giving thanks to Jesus for bringing my lost computer home. And yet my heart is heavy, too, as I pray for the many who need courage and hope.

And I pray for you, too. I pray that Jesus will speak into your mind this week, and show you tangible miracles in your life. Miracles like His presence, and His love and care for you.

God showed me a miracle when He brought my computer home. It was not because I deserved it, but because He cares. And Jesus does care: for me, and for you.

— Tracy Wood is the director of North American Division Youth and Young Adult Ministries.