This is a guest post from my good childhood friend Ben. Read and enjoy. If you want to fellow what other great things God is doing in Bens neck of the woods go to his blog thttp://neighborhoodministry.blogspot.com
Beans view for today is Bens....
Friday, January 8, 2010
A lost Ring
Tim Sutherland’s life has come full circle much like the ring that spent 5 years in his pocket. Tim grew up in Northwest Indiana and as a young boy grew very rebellious. His family was very involved in Hobart Assembly of God church. Five generations of Sutherland’s have worshiped and been involved at that church. Tim did not enjoy this life he longed for the “normal” life all his other friends had. They would steal beer from their parents, smoke, and cause juvenile trouble.
Tim’s rebellion lasted much longer than normal teenage angst. He become heavily involved in drugs but he did well living a double life. He would work and by all appearances seemed to be doing well. The problem was his addiction kept growing and he was having to feed this addiction. He was married and had two children. Tim was spending time with a rough crowd including some who were part of the outlaw’s biker gang. One day he was spending a day partying and a group of them were sitting in a living room on a couch. All was normal until a ring fell out of the couch cushions. There was a mad scramble for the ring, Tim eventually ended up with this treasure.
The ring was big, very big. It looked to be a high school ring of some sort. It had a ruby in the center. Tim’s plan was to pawn the ring and use the money to buy drugs. That day passed and he ended up not pawning it. Tim would spend the next five years in teen challenge rehabilitation centers. He would go and get out, relapse and go back. This happened numerous times. This would take him to Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Florida, and Alabama and ever state in between. He lost everything his family, job, car, house and everything else. The only constant material item he had was this ring. He thought many times of selling it but just never did.
Tim had forgotten about this ring when he packed his belongings to leave Muskegon Teen Challenge. He had spent the last couple of years there and it had been a great time of recovering. He was moving back to Indiana to live with his sister and spend Christmas with her family. Tim had two bags of clothes to his name. As he was unpacking at his new apartment in his sisters basement he remembered how he wanted to start wearing a cross that he had gotten from a Native American friend of his. He opened the box that held this cross and he saw this ring that had been with him for all these years and this journey he had been on. Seeing this ring may have reminded him of the time he was in Alabama trying to keep his son from going down the same path he had. He may have thought about the pride that had made him quit teen challenge only to fail and have to go back. That was in the past now. There was optimism this time though; he had left teen challenge on good terms. The staff was satisfied that Tim was ready to go back to the real world.
He picked up the ring and was admiring it when he began looking at it further. It was a high school wrestling championship ring. He put it away again not knowing what he would do with it. As he began preparing for a new life, he had asked different family members to write ten things about him that he needed to change. His father wrote some good things about Tim in pen and then some things that Tim needed to change in pencil. He wrote it in pencil so as God continued to work in Tim’s life he could erase them. On the top of this list: Tim needs to work on his capacity to love other people. As he prayed about how he could love people the ring came to mind. What if I found the person who this ring belongs to? He asked himself. He did some more research on the ring and found some initials on the ring. J.P. He looked at the ring and the year on the ring was 2001. It was from Portage High school. He did a google search and found the names to the wrestlers from that year. There was only one wrestler with the initials of J.P. The high schooler’s name was Justin Powell.
From all the information Tim could find Justin wrestled in the 275 pound weight class and had lost in the state finals. Now to find him, Tim had no idea if Justin still lived in the area. He did some research, asked many people to help and did social media queries. All to no avail no one seemed to know Justin or where he was. Tim was getting discouraged after 3 weeks of searching. Tim felt sure that God was going to use this ring for something great. Tim did not know how God was going to work, he was just certain God would work. One of the thoughts Tim had during this time was the word champion. He did quite a bit of research on the word and one of the meanings of the word champion is some one who goes between, an intermediaries.
Tim thought when I meet Justin I am going to share about the champion in my life: Jesus.
This Monday Tim’s brother in law inquired about the search. Tim was disheartened but his brother in law was not going to give up. He thought maybe some one else on the wrestling team still keeps in touch with him. Tim thought not a bad idea, but not a great idea either for that matter. They searched the web site and found one of the other wrestlers name. Tim did a google search on him and came up with a phone number. Tim was apprehensive at first, not knowing if he should call or not. Then the thought came you have nothing to lose. So Tim called and on the other end was an answering machine. Tim left a detailed message to the effects of “Hello my name is Tim Sutherland, I think you may have wrestled in high school with Justin Powell, I ended up with his ring and am looking to give it back.” That was that another dead end.
On Tuesday morning Tim was on the phone when a strange number tried calling. Tim didn’t think anything of it and ignored it. The person didn’t leave a message. Tim got off the phone and it rang again. Tim answered it and said hello. The other voice said "is this Tim Sutherland?" Tim knowing that many people in his past may be looking for him didn’t know what to say so he meekly mumbled yea. The voice on the other end said "this is Justin Powell, I heard you had my ring." Tim was in shock; this journey that lasted 5 years was coming to an end. Tim asked Justin to meet him at a pizza place that night.
Tim, his sister, Justin and his wife all got together. They met and Tim was excited, he was excited for what God had in store for this situation. Justin and his wife were both in their mid twenties. He was excited to see this ring that reminded him of the good high school days. Things had not been so good for Justin and his family since high school. There had been ups and downs since this wrestler had gotten this ring. There had been time spent in jail, there had been struggles in marriage, and there had been addictions. Tim asked Justin about how he lost the ring. Justin couldn’t remember in full detail but he thought maybe some friends had stolen it. Tim went on to explain his journey, he explained how Jesus had changed his life. Tim didn’t know what the outcome would be. Everyone at the table was crying as they all shared their stories.
Then Tim asked Justin about his spiritual journey. Justin and his wife looked at each other and said we were invited to Hobart Assembly of God and have been going for the past three weeks. This was the church Tim had grown up in. This was the church that had been such a support to the Sutherland family. This story like the ring came full circle. This lost ring represents in many ways the journey Tim was on. This is a God story because there was no possible way that this story could have happened any other way.
Tim is a part of Neighborhood Ministry