The high-pitched shrill of the sirens was almost drowned out by the sound of golf-ball size hail that pummeled the door of the tornado shelter with a force seldom seen (or heard) in our north Texas town. Yet I was unafraid.
However, it wasn’t the protected environment in which I sat that brought me comfort. It was knowing that no matter what circumstances I might face in life, I would never face them alone—and the heart knowledge that the Lord I loved and worshiped loved me back. I uttered a simple prayer claiming His promise of being in the shadow of His wings then I smiled as I recollected the last time I even thought about this place of refuge. It was though God was reminding me about the day of the “missing keys.”
“Aunt Vickie, where are the keys to the tornado shelter? I need to finish laying the carpet in there.”
Newly built and undergoing some final construction projects, we had been given two sets of keys, and I was certain I had given one set to Brandon, my nephew. Yet that didn’t seem to be the case—apparently, I still had both sets. I knew they were on a key chain with a black leather tassel, so they would be easy to spot as I opened the drawer where I thought they were. But you guessed it—no keys. I looked in all the surrounding drawers—no keys, no tassel key chain.
“Lord, you know I’m heading out of town tomorrow…I don’t have time for this.”
An exhaustive and thorough search turned up nothing, except a growing frustration.
If push came to shove we could call a locksmith, but in addition to a significant cost, that option would be time-consuming and, I knew Brandon had other projects on his plate that he needed to accomplish. Not to mention that I still hadn’t packed for my trip, I had a lesson plan to complete, and some paperwork I had to address before I left town the next morning. I didn’t need the added component of missing keys.
At this point in my life I was leading a Hebraic Christian home fellowship, and I felt secure in my calling to study the Hebraic roots of my Christian faith—and share these rich perspectives with others. I felt close to my Yeshua (Jesus) and talked to Him often in prayer. So, in the middle of another unfruitful search I stopped looking and started talking.
“Lord, I know this is a trivial request, but could you please help me find my keys? Could you please open my mind and give me the knowledge to where my keys are?”
I continued to look, but to no avail.
That’s when my prayers began to take a turn that in retrospect makes me laugh, because it’s when I decided that maybe I could “help God along” in the process of answering my prayers.
“Okay, God, this doesn’t seem to be working. I could give you some suggestions for how you could show me where the keys are, okay? You could reveal their whereabouts in my spirit, or perhaps flash the location in my memory. Or, you could send an angel, I’m okay with that.”
Having experienced a clinical death years ago, I had seen a Heavenly host in my out-of-body experience, and I knew angels were real. However, I didn’t want to have to come close to death to see an angel who would reveal where I’d misplaced my keys, so I made sure to add a caveat to that suggestion.
“But please, God, no medical emergency, okay?”
As I continued to search I got more creative in my suggestions, and by the time I had looked absolutely everywhere I was laughing not only at myself, but I felt certain with my heavenly Father as well, for surely He didn’t need my help to guide Him in executing miracles—and at this point it would have to be a miracle to find the keys that had obviously disappeared.
“Okay, God. It’s getting late, and it doesn’t look like I’m supposed to find the keys today. But maybe you could send their location in a dream tonight? Or perhaps move them where I can find them tomorrow?”
That evening as I packed for my trip, I decided to take one of my nicer handbags that I seldom used. Hand crafted and made of beautiful, soft, leather it was a designer bag that I couldn’t justify carrying except on very special occasions. I meticulously removed the inside packing and transferred everything from the handbag I was currently using into the special bag. I carefully laid out my clothes for the next day, and placed my handbag on the ottoman in my bathroom and then went to bed.
My alarm rang early the next morning, and as I walked into the bathroom to shower something caught my eye—and I stopped in my tracks.
Draped across the top of my purse was a black leather tassel, with the tornado shelter keys dangling from its’ ring.
The discovery didn’t frighten me. In fact, it made me smile—and then audibly laugh. And in that moment, I crossed a threshold in my relationship with God. He really does care about the little things. He knew I already had a load on my shoulders and that this added challenge would bring a burden I didn’t need. I believe He also knew in all my well-meaning “suggestions” to Him the previous day, that I had felt a level of communication with Him that elevated our relationship. I had talked to God, my covenant friend—in almost consistent prayer throughout the day as I searched for the missing keys.
How like God to work in mysterious—and even humorous ways.
My heart was light with how much the Lord loved me, listened to me, and provided for me. He always hears our prayers and even invites our requests when He says in Isaiah 1:18a, Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord. And I have to say, that is exactly what I did!
Indeed, God can open doors—or at least give you the keys.