He holds all the keys: A valuable lesson in trusting God

(Photo by: Jaye Haych)
Keys (Photo by: Jaye Haych)

The door latched behind me. I stepped back, panic coursing through me, and stared at the closed door. The realization of what I had done rushed over me like icy water. It was Christmas, and my family was at my grandparents’ home in Michigan. I was six years old and had been playing house by myself all day. “Play” might be a stretch. I was dead serious.  

My grandma kept dolls and toys for her visiting grandkids, and I was playing with my favorite. Her name was Clara. She had unnaturally long, blond hair and glassy blue eyes. She was my only daughter, and her father was away at war, obviously. 

My heart racing, I stood in the dark hallway in disbelief at what I had done. I had been so deeply engrossed in my pretend world that I had locked Clara inside the guestroom with instructions to unlock the door for me when I returned from “shopping.” (I couldn’t just leave her in there with the door unlocked; she could’ve been kidnapped.) As I stood there, dark thoughts filtered through my mind. My grandparents will never be able to use this room again. Where will people stay when they come to visit?

There was no key-hole in the knob, just a useless, tiny hole no bigger than a toothpick. I decided that my only option was to pray. 

“I’ll do anything You want, just please, please unlock the door.” After each desperate plea I would try the doorknob. Finally, I knew there was only one thing left to do. Tears streaming down my face, I went to confess my misdemeanor to my grandmother. Calmly, she followed me back to the hallway and pulled a tiny metal stick from the top of the door frame, and, fitting it neatly into the knob, swung the door open with a perplexed smile. 

Relief washed over me, and I went back to taking care of Clara. I figured it out, I thought. The prayers didn’t work, but I took care of the problem. This dangerous confidence is a mindset I have struggled with over the years. I can fix it. If my prayers don’t work out, I’ll have a backup plan; I can deal with it. But believing this is living a lie. 

Answers to prayer come in many different forms. Personal action can be God’s answer, or the answer might come from other people.  It took years for me to realize the real lesson to be learned from my locked door experience. Rather, the lesson wasn’t that keys come in all different shapes and sizes, it was that we may not see the behind-the-scenes of our prayers. There will be times when we don’t understand why God chooses to say no or to answer a prayer in a way that is difficult to accept. But He knows the end from the beginning, and He holds all the keys.

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