Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.
~Garth Brooks

I recently celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of when I was paralyzed. March 6, 2004 seems a lifetime ago, it has been 15 years since I accidentally jumped off a cliff in Southern Utah. It could be a sad day or a happy one, but we choose happy. So we celebrate by eating Clif bars and jumping off stuff.

There have been a lot of days in the past 15 years that I – and others – have prayed for miracles that don’t always seem to come. God seems to want us to walk (or roll…) down the hard road. Why is that?

I mean, really. God saved Daniel from the lion’s den, but Abinidi died in the fire. I have friends who’ve been miraculously saved from wheelchairs and others who, like me, just keep on rollin’. Is there some sort of lottery in heaven that determines who gets what prayers answered?

…and who doesn’t?

Speaking of unanswered prayers, I had quite the…experience…a few days ago. We are adjusting to a new house and had only been here a few days when my husband left for a meeting. My two daughters and I were playing when I got a little chilly and went to my new bedroom to put on a sweater. My one-year-old, Daisy, followed me and my five-year-old, Zula, stayed to play in the playroom with our dog.

While I was picking out a sweater, Daisy closed my bedroom door. And it stayed closed.

When I tried to open the door, I couldn’t. As I turned the knob, it would twist around and around and the lock wouldn’t budge. I couldn’t do anything about it! I tried pushing it and pulling it and twisting it and turning it – it was not moving! Or opening!

At this point, Zula came to help me, but no matter what she did from the other side, the door remained firmly shut tight.

After quite a lengthy amount of time trying everything we could do to open the door, we decided to pray. I asked Zula if she’d say it (whenever we really need a miracle, we ask her to pray. She seems to have a direct line to heaven). I was confident God would hear her and open the door for us.

But He didn’t.

I mean, I’m sure He heard us, but we didn’t get picked from the “miracle lottery” in heaven. The door stayed shut.

I felt a little (lot) mad. I mean, we’re not asking for anything major here! We don’t need any lions’ mouths shut or fires quenched or seas parted… I wasn’t asking to walk! We just want the door opened! But, for whatever reason, this was not a miracle God was going to grant us.

I tried not to panic. I’d already called my husband, but he was an hour away. My baby and I were okay in the bedroom, but my 5-year-old was getting scared. It was as I was trying to calm her through the closed door that I remembered someone had emailed me saying they were going to be my new neighbor. And she’d included her phone number!

I quickly looked up the email on my phone and called her. It was a rather awkward conversation… Um, hi… this is your, uh, new neighbor. Would you like to come over? And help me get out of my bedroom?

She was there in less than two minutes. I could hear a lot of movement and muffled conversation and it seemed like she’d brought a kid with her…and maybe a dog?

We talked through the door, she tried twisting the knob also, but it wouldn’t work for her either. She was able to find a screwdriver in our garage and pushed it under the door. With paralyzed hands, I twisted the screws out from the door knob one by one until…

Ta-da! My new friend and I hugged! And I could see she had brought her daughter, a five-year-old, who was playing happily with Zula in the playroom. Daisy quickly joined them. And she’d also brought her dog, who was getting pretty, mmm, friendly with our dog 🙂

My new friend stayed and helped me unpack the rest of my kitchen boxes. She even climbed onto a ladder and decorated my shelves with all of my display dishes. Our daughters, and dogs, played happily the rest of the afternoon. She even brought us dinner later that night.

For the rest of that day, the Garth Brooks song kept playing in my head: Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember when you’re talking to the Man upstairs, that just because He doesn’t answer doesn’t mean He don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

If God would have answered our heartfelt, faith-filled plea for the door to open miraculously, we would have missed out on an afternoon filled with new friendship, an unpacked kitchen, and some very delicious enchiladas.

The hard road is paved with plenty of sad and we often want to skip the rockier parts – so we pray for miracles to bypass the pain, frustration, and difficulty. But God doesn’t always, or even often, grant us those major miracles that we want. Instead, He withholds those and gives us what we really would ask for if we only knew what was available.

So no matter what miracles haven’t come, you can look around for the others that have and choose happy as you make your way down the hard path!

Keep on Rollin’