You probably thought I was going to write about the keys to the kingdom of Heaven or the authority handed down by Jesus to Peter or something spiritual and theological like that, right?
Well, actually, it’s not anywhere near that deep. It’s about car keys. Yes, car keys.
See I lost the keys to my husband’s truck. And not just like we had to search for an hour to find them. Not jus like we found them the next day. No, they were lost. Gone.
You know how it is when you lose something. You look all the places that make sense. Then you pray to God and St. Anthony (St. Anthony is practically my best friend because I am always losing things). And then you retrace your steps, look all the places that make sense again, and then start looking places that don’t make sense.
Well anyway, we did all that. For days. And the keys were nowhere. In the meantime, we are all being greatly inconvenienced as my husband has to take my minivan to work, and I have to keep borrowing my mom’s car, and she has to keep babysitting because I can’t fit all the kids into her car.
And I prayed, and I prayed and I prayed. But God chose not to answer that prayer so I had to ask myself, what is the lesson of the keys?
I asked my husband what he thought it was, and he said that I need to be better organized and put things in their place. Hmm. (To his credit, he really didn’t get too mad during this whole time which was quite surprising.)
I told him it was that we needed to get rid of his truck because he saved money on gas driving my van because his truck is such a gas hog. Hmm.
All right, all unhelpful comments aside, I really had to ask what the lesson was.
First off, its a reminder of the reality of our spiritual life. This was not a suffering in the true sense–maybe just a little suffering or maybe even just an inconvenience. But God didn’t give us those keys. Even though I prayed, God didn’t say yes. I think sometimes we think our prayers are so noble, that they are so obviously for the good of everyone, that of course God is going to give us what we ask. But that’s not the reality of spiritual life. Or earthly life. Things go bad. Sometimes really bad. Things that we know are in God’s will, don’t go that way. We do suffer. And that’s when we have to do two things, I think. One, and most importantly, is to trust God. Trust that He knows everything. Trust that He knows what’s best. Trust that He can see the bigger picture–all those little details down the road that we can’t see. And trust He will be there and that it will be okay whether its in accord with our plan or not.
And the second is to ask God to tell us what the lesson is. And listen. Sometimes, it’s so shocking to us that God wouldn’t answer this or that prayer in the way we think it should be answered that we can even get a little angry. We think obviously what we wanted is the right answer! So why wouldn’t God answer it? Seriously what good can come of not being able to find the keys?? But that’s when I have to laugh at myself–laugh at my presumption, at my own pride to think I know and understand so much. Sometimes the sillier or littler our noble request is, the more upset we can be that it’s not answered. That’s the really funny part. It’s almost like with everything I’ve gone through, with everything I’ve got going on in my life, you are really going to give me one more inconvenience God?
Ummm, sorry, but yes. We are not exempt from the hassles of daily life no matter how much we are suffering. Sometimes God does give us those consolations of things going just right (do we even notice when He does??) but sometimes He doesn’t. And It calls us back to complete reliance on Him.
So do we really trust Him? Really? Do we trust that it makes sense to not answer the prayer of the keys, that He has something in mind even for that? And that maybe what we really need to do is just ask Him, not for the keys but for what He wants from us.
How He wants us to grow.
What He wants us to learn.
The lesson of the keys? Humility. Dependence. Trust.
Let me know . . .what do you think it was??
P.S. As I go to post this a full month later, we still have never found the keys. We had to pay the dealer to get a new one made.