A Key to Remembering
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
God used a hard circumstance to teach me a powerful lesson this week. I lost my keys. It was the ring with my car key, electronic door opener and house key. Because of my schedule that day, they could only have been in two places: inside the house or outside in my front yard. Where someone could pick them up. And break in. And murder my whole family. Can you feel my rising panic?
I was calm at first, certain the keys would just be lying in an unusual place. This is something I can handle, my subconscious murmured, so I started to search. I scanned the house quickly, but the keys didn't appear readily. Then I crawled through each room on my hands and knees trying to get a new perspective and looking under furniture. Not there.
Soon my husband and son got home, and we armed ourselves with flashlights to search the yard many times over. No keys there either.
Since it was long past bedtime, I finally prayed half-heartedly, wedged dining room chairs under the doorknobs and went to sleep, tossing and turning through the night. In my heart, though, I was sure I would find those keys.
As dawn broke, I researched all the places from the day before and places I'd missed. Frustration and fear set in. I began having visions of hundreds of dollars spent on rekeying locks and replacing the door opener.
Finally, in a conversation with a friend, I asked her to pray earnestly. I hung up the phone, leaned against my fireplace and cried out to God: "God, You know we need that money for college tuition. I'm really afraid someone has found those keys and is going to break into the house. Please help me. You know where those keys are. Will You show me where they are?"
I didn't have any immediate fresh ideas, so I headed to my back deck to uncover the flowers I had tucked under a sheet the night before to save them from a freeze. As I yanked off the sheet, something shiny caught my eye. My keys dangled off the side of the flowerpot, where they must have fallen as I worked the day before!
As I headed into the house, my thoughts were overcome with wonder. I understand God is not on my timetable, so prayers aren't always answered immediately. But in this case, my prayer was answered instantly. Why had it taken me so long to turn to God?
I thought about the month before when I got a callback after a mammogram. I instantaneously turned to God in prayer, and I continued to pray for one and a half weeks until I could be rechecked. In that harrowing, seemingly "big" circumstance, I experienced the blessing of peace that resulted from prayer long before I received all-clear results.
I processed how often my own pride, the conviction I can handle things on my own, keeps me from instant prayer ... and from the comfort, peace and power of God's presence.
Now I'm going to use my keys as a reminder. Will you use yours, too? Each time we pull them out to use, let's remember to humbly pray about the big and little things. As we do, we'll experience the peace of God together, washing over us as well as all our circumstances.
Jesus, make me humble. Help me run to You in prayer for all things, the big and the little. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 5:16b, "... The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (NIV)
Ephesians 6:18a, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." (NIV)
Psalm 123:1, "I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What are the big things in your life that need prayer? What are some things you've been managing yourself that you need to give to God in prayer?
Make a list of both big and little things that need prayer. Break them into seven groups for the seven days this week. Set aside time each day this week to talk with God about your list. He'll be listening!