I asked myself this question when I was in Israel. The first full day in my bucket-list destination, a pearl earring was missing from on top of the hotel dresser.
I looked all over for it, but couldn’t find it. I was troubled because those pearls were my default earrings. I doubted that the maid stole it; wouldn’t she take both? Yet, one was missing after the room was cleaned.
The next morning, I wore my silver plumeria earrings (my favorite). In the afternoon, the tour bus stopped at a gift shop. I held up an earring to my left ear while looking into a mirror, and was horrified that my plumeria earring was missing. I searched my clothing, the ground, and the bus, but never located it. I felt sick because I knew I wouldn’t be able to replace that unique earring. I lost two earrings in the first two days of the tour.
After seeing my tears, my husband encouraged me to buy a new pair of earrings from Israel, but I felt so bad that nothing seemed appealing. The following morning in Old Jerusalem, I noticed a pair that I liked enough to purchase. I wore the new opal earrings that afternoon and even pinched the open loops shut so I wouldn’t lose them. But I did lose one, at the first place we visited that afternoon — the filming of Mike Huckabee’s television show.
I couldn’t ever remember losing an earring from my ear before, and now I lost three earrings on this particular trip. I wondered if God was teaching me something, or perhaps it was effective opposition to keep me from enjoying my time there. That night before bed, I prayed and pleaded with God to help me find my newly purchased earring, but the next morning we left Jerusalem and traveled to Galilee. My chances were gone.
Before reaching Galilee, we toured Masada and floated in the Dead Sea; yet, the personal losses put me in a depressed mood and I didn’t enjoy my day. Losing three earrings in three days is crazy. I had to sort out my feelings that day so I could move on.
The biblical passage came to mind about one’s treasure being in heaven instead of on earth, and I believed my heart was being tested. Did I really treasure my jewelry that much? I realized that earrings are only material things and asked the Lord to help me get over it so I could enjoy the trip. Acknowledging again that Jesus is my treasure and my heart belongs to Him, I asked Him to prevent me from loving earthly things too much.
At the dinner table that evening, our new friends said they were charged $165 for having seven pieces of clothing laundered at our last hotel. I considered their expense to be worse than losing my earrings. Immediately, that feeling of sadness and disappointment lifted, and I was able to smile again.
The next day, Mike Huckabee told me that the crew from the show had mentioned they found an earring while cleaning up.
He knew about mine because I previously told his wife about possibly losing one there. Janet Huckabee had my earring in her possession before we left Jerusalem, but I didn’t know for two days. Without my knowledge, God had answered my prayer, but had me first prioritize what I valued.
Isn’t that like God to test us and then give us the desires of our hearts? In Matthew 6:19-21 we read, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven … For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Touring Israel was not what I expected. I learned about its culture and topography; however, personal spiritual training took precedence on that trip.