“It is ours to remember the loving-kindness of the Lord, and to rehearse His deeds of grace. Let us open the volume of recollection that is so richly illuminated with memorials of mercy.” —C.H. Spurgeon, Evening by Evening (2005 ed., p.162)
In October 1999, cold and rainy days challenged those who longed for the warm, colorful days that fall often brings. Perhaps because grief weighed me down, every day seemed cold and rainy. A month prior, a massive heart attack had taken the life of my husband.
The third Sunday in October, I awoke to dark skies and rain hitting my window. The sound doused me with an overwhelming feeling of grief. The promise of comforting hymns and an uplifting message at church coaxed me out of bed. I recall neither the message nor the hymns sung that morning, but I well remember feeling crushing sorrow as I left the pew. Enticed by the smell of coffee, people flocked to the fellowship hall, which soon became a place of laughter mingled with animated conversation. I was not enticed. I just wanted to go home, so I did.
For more than 30 years, my husband and I entered our home by using a remote to open the overhead garage door, then opening a doorway leading from the garage into the back foyer. This door remained unlocked for years because the keys had been lost. Walking up to the door that Sunday, I turned the handle expectantly—but the door was locked! I was completely befuddled. “Oh, Lord,” I sobbed, “please help me!” Gathering my scattered thoughts, I ran frantically through the pouring rain to see if another door or window was unlocked, but everything was locked tight.
Frustrated and upset, I sat in my car. I recall resting my head on the steering wheel, weeping and beseeching God to help me. Calming myself, I gazed through the windshield and spied my husband’s tackle box on the workbench. A silent prompting told me to look in the box. Obediently I went to the tackle box and opened the lid. Scattered in the bottom amid lures and hooks lay a familiar ring of keys! A memory flashed through my mind to a time in the office where I had worked with my husband for over 18 years. I was putting files away when I noticed a ring of keys on my husband’s desk. I held up the ring and asked him, “What are you doing with all these keys?” He held up his index finger and, smiling, said, “Di, you never know when you might need a key.” He hoarded keys for no apparent purpose—or so it seemed.
After the business was sold, I received a box of his personal possessions. Somehow and at some time, these keys had mysteriously landed in his tackle box. As I took the ring of keys with me to the locked door that morning I prayed, “Please, Lord, let one of these keys fit.” I anxiously tried each key. Finally, coming to the last one, the key miraculously turned the lock.
All through the years, Jesus was holding onto this key just for me.