We just celebrated our seventh year of marriage, and during that time my wife Mary has taken me to over 40 countries. She’s my personal travel planner, which has opened a world of adventure I never would’ve experienced had I been single. This summer she took me to the Middle East.
We started our trip in Istanbul, Turkey. After some city sightseeing, which included Hagia Sophia, and then a short jaunt to Ephesus, we hopped on another plane to Athens, Greece.
Athens has seen better days, but if you can escape to one of the many beautiful islands, the spectacular cliff views and characteric whitewashed buildings will be a welcome reprieve from the graffiti-ridden Athens. We visited the island of Santorini. If you’ve seen a travel brochure for the Greek islands it probably includes a photo of Santorini, which in real life looks just like the pictures.
We had been walking around Oia and decided to rest on a bench beside a blue capped church. It was sweltering, so we took advantage of shade provided by the olive tree over our bench. We placed our phones on the bench and soaked in the sights and people around us.
When we hydrated, we decided to hop in the car and scoot down the road to Thera. Mary grabbed her phone and we were off. Thera was about a 10-15 minute drive, and the town is a tourist trap, making parking a challenge, but thankfully our little Fiat 500 rental was able to fit in the smallest of spaces. We hopped out of the car and headed down to the main strip. I gave a reflexive pat to my pocket to check for my phone, but no phone!
“Wait! I forgot my phone in the car,” I said.
I ran back to the car and looked through it. Nothing. An anxious feeling began to take hold of me as I frantically searched the car. I looked everywhere.
“I can’t find my phone. I don’t even remember where I had it last. I remember taking pictures and set it down…”
The reality of what must have happened hit me, kicking my stress into high gear, as iPhones aren’t cheap.
“Well, we’ll just have to drive back and look for it,” Mary said.
She was taking this better than I expected. I was hating myself for being so stupid as to forget my phone in a foreign country, and to top it off, I had placed my phone in airplane mode. This meant I couldn’t even track my phone to see where I had left it.
We raced back to Oia and checked the two locations we had stopped, but there was no phone, and a hopeless feeling set in. I had left my phone on the bench and now it was gone. I was more upset over losing an expensive phone than I was with what was on the phone. What a waste of money, I thought to myself. And with other misfortunes happening not even a day before, such as Mary scratching the rental car bumper, our Greek experience was quickly turning into a mini nightmare.
I called T-Mobile to see if they could track my phone if it was in airplane mode. The answer was no. They suspended service, and I marked it lost on my iCloud account. I was quite depressed the rest of the day. I secretly wondered if this was God’s doing. I suppose blaming God for anything bad that happens in our lives is a typical human response. Maybe I was spending too much time on my phone and this was God’s way of forcing me off it. While I was upset about the loss of my phone, part of me was relieved I would have a forced break.
A few days later we flew back to Athens to catch a flight to Cairo, Egypt. I woke up in my hotel and checked my email. I had a new message come through from ADvindicate’s contact page. The subject line immediately caught my attention. It said, “Cell Phone Missing.”
I couldn’t believe it. My eyes quickly fell to the message.
“Dear Sir, We have found a cell phone dropped by the church here in Greece,” a man named Thanos wrote. “We saw you are managing the facebook page of this website and it was the only way to reach out to you.”
“This website” was ADvindicate. He was able to see the notifications on the locked screen and saw that whoever owned the phone also managed ADvindicate’s Facebook page, and from Facebook he visited ADvindicate and emailed me.
Two days after I arrived home, my phone arrived via Fedex.
I said multiple thank you’s to God for watching over my phone and bringing it back to me. I couldn’t help but be reminded that God is interested in the details of our lives. And even though losing an iPhone could be considered a silly first-world problem, God still cares.
Jesus said in Matthew 6 not to worry about life. The birds don’t sow or reap or store their food, yet God feeds them. The flowers or grass aren’t worried about clothes, but God clothes them, and in God’s eyes we are much more valuable. We aren’t to worry about the basics of life, or even things that might seem huge and impossible. God already knows and promises to provide and make a way -- even for a lost phone.