Yesterday morning, right before leaving for an important appointment, I discovered I’d lost the fob from my car key. Still had the key to open the car doors, but the clicky magic fob that starts my newfangled push-button car, gone. I was in the bathroom when I made this discovery and I was terrified that I’d somehow managed to flush it down the toilet.
My friend Miss Y was driving me to my appointment, due to my license being suspended and not wanting to risk getting tagged. We needed to leave RIGHT THEN. No choice, had to go. I was already late.
Upon returning a few hours later, I searched. I looked in the bathroom. Checked all my pockets, front and back. Looked under my car, inside it, and in all the areas I’d been prior to noticing the missing fob. It was GONE.
I called the dealership to find out how much a replacement would cost. It would cost a lot, as it turns out. Almost three hundred dollars. Over two hundred for the fob itself to be ordered, and over seventy for it to be programmed to my vehicle. I called a couple of other places that do car keys and batteries: Pretty much the same price or more. I have nothing close to three hundred dollars in my possession. This was going to be a blue Christmas.
I searched again. Combed the whole area, the ground, the car.
Finally, I prayed.
Like many of us, I simply forget to pray sometimes. Maybe even a lot of the time. Why? I don’t know. Probably a severe case of self-absorption. Also, I’m so accustomed to the idea that I’m not “allowed” to ask anyone for anything, because I don’t want to be accused of being “entitled” or “whiny” or “greedy” or whatever flavor of finger-wagging du jour is in vogue. And I lump God in with “anyone” even though he’s not.
But after hours of frantic searching, fending off panic attacks, and beginning to wonder just how much worse can my situation get, I remembered to pray. What follows are the stupid, flawed, deeply-neurotic words that came forth:
God, I know I have no right to expect anything from you. I know I don’t deserve your help. But please. Please. I know you can. I don’t know you will. You know I struggle with that. I know you can lead me to my key fob or give it back to me, I don’t know you will. You know I don’t understand how all that works. You know my heart. I know I don’t have the right to expect anything, but please. Please.
I had to pee. I went back to the bathroom and closed the door. Very carefully I put my ring of keys on the toilet tank, so that I didn’t lose anything else. For good measure I looked around again and the fob was still not there. I unzipped and started to pull down my khakis, and.
There. It was.
My key fob, stuffed down the back of my pants. Not in a back pocket. IN MY BUTT.
I zipped back up. Didn’t even pee. I had to share this before I forgot, which I knew I would. At the church office, I told the secretary. I told the children’s pastor’s wife. A little later I told the children’s pastor, and then in church before Wednesday night Bible study I told the lady I sat next to, and finally after Bible study I told Miss Y.
Nobody found this narrative to be anywhere near as significant as I did. I guess that’s understandable. But for me, this was TESTIMONY. That’s what I said, to everyone who would listen, as their eyes started to glaze over while I regaled them with my epic tale of answered prayer. I know it wasn’t a lost coin like in Luke 15:8-9 but it was a BIG DEAL, DAMMIT.
Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. (KJV)
Stand By Me
If you’re a Christian, you’ve likely heard variations on the platitude: God does answer prayer. Sometimes the answer is yes; sometimes it’s no. And sometimes, the answer is WAIT.
It occurred to me yesterday that God waits too. As I was gushing to various bystanders, I remarked, “Maybe it wasn’t there!” Between the time I left for my appointment in the morning to the time I went back to the bathroom in the afternoon, I didn’t feel any key fob in my pants. “Maybe he was waiting until I prayed to give it back to me!” People chuckled indulgently. Who knows, really? God works in mysterious ways, yadda.
The senior pastor’s messages have been especially focused on the concept of being in God’s will lately. Lots of messages and Bible studies revolving around obeying, following the path he has laid out instead of trying to go off on our own, and so on. It’s important to be reminded of such things, and I don’t mind him harping on it a bit.
Yesterday’s little drama really drove home the point for me. God was standing by, waiting for me to turn to him. Waiting for my prayer. Waiting for me to stop trying to plan my own way out of the mess I was in, and ask for his help.
Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (KJV)
— James 4:13-14