Sometimes God shows off when he’s answering your prayers. He comes straight through the front door—bold, undeniable, in your face.
You knock, and the door opens.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Other times you pound on the door of heaven—asking, begging, pleading for a miracle. You plant yourself on his doorstep, vowing not to budget until you get the answer you came for. You stay the night, alternating between shouting loud enough to wake the neighborhood and whispering your desperation through the keyhole.
He told you to knock, so you knock.
He told you to ask, so you ask.
For a job.
For a child.
For a way out of the darkness.
And sometimes you get the storybook ending. The front door flings wide open. Prayers are answered. Miracles happen. Dreams are fulfilled. Hopes are quenched.
But there are other times when the front door remains firmly shut. Day after day passes, followed by night after silent night. Your knocking seems to go unheard—or unheeded. Before long your voice is hoarse and your arms lack the strength to even reach the door knocker.
Spent and prayerless, you slump on the front porch.
My friend Mary moved from the Midwest to Florida several years ago to become a full-time caregiver for her mother, who was suffering from dementia and could no longer live alone. She was glad to be able to help her mom after her mom had done the same for her, but she missed her job and her friends back home. The homesickness for the Midwest struck particularly in the fall. I wish I could see some fall colors, she thought wistfully one October day.
That evening, at the end of a long day of caring for her mother, their role reversal becoming more evident with each passing day, Mary took a rare moment to stand on the balcony. Before her eyes the sunset sky was filled with the colors of home—sugar-maple red, poplar yellow, feisty orange.
It wasn’t the beauty she’d been looking for, but it was beautiful. It was enough.
Sometimes God’s answers come through the back door.
He heals a soul instead of a body. He doesn’t remove the darkness; he reminds you he’s in it with you. He says no, but he says it in love. He sends a fall scene in the unexpected from of a sunset.
Whatever it is you are knocking about today, know that the blessing will come. The answer will come. But don’t forget to check the back door too.
Eva Kristiaman says
Thank you so much, dear Stephanie. Just so in time and percisely I have been in the story you described beautifully. I have been caring my both parents since 3 years ago, both of them dementia. I moved back to Australia, and have laid my passion down, for caring them. And exactly that what I have felt, I have been looking for a part-time job with the hope I could write again. I trust blessing and work are gifts from my Father in heaven. I am learning to be still and know He is God. I’ve been wondering what is His plans for my life … Nothing comes up from the front door. Yesterday I checked the back door, and praying He would open the door for me … Thanks again, Stephanie. 🙂
Eva, what a beautiful story of honoring your parents at great cost to yourself. I’m asking God to show up to you in wonderful (if unexpected ways).
Eva Kristiaman says
Thanks so much, dear Stephanie, for the most beautiful gift.
You have done such a good job seeking out the blessings even amid the pain. Love you, Jen!
Tiffanie Johnson says
Thank you, sweet friend.
Sometimes I feel like I just have to “get over it.” But this is so much kinder and gentler: “He doesn’t remove the darkness; he reminds you he’s in it with you. He says no, but he says it in love.”
I can’t picture Jesus saying “Get over it.” I think he’d sit right with you in the sadness. Love you!
Kristen Joy Wilks says
Yes, this is so true. And we rarely know the why of His choices. The hurried prayer about car trouble is miraculously answered with a free van two weeks later that someone just wanted to get rid of and yet that year of praying and begging direction when our church split and we didn’t know where to attend was answered a whole year later with a firm “I don’t care. Just pick something, Kristen, any of those churches you are considering will be just fine.” Who knows what He is thinking, but HE loves us and that should keep us stumbling along until we understand. Isn’t easy though.
What a good reminder, Kristen…if we come from the place of remembering he loves us, that changes everything.
Praying for a very special backdoor blessing for you too, dear friend, even as you extend continual encouragement and comfort to others.
Thank you for your faithful friendship, Maggie!
This post is quite old, but popped up today in my quest in search of “backdoor blessings”. A friend of ours has had a difficult life. As a child during WWII, he almost starved in the Netherlands and grew up very poor. He had a twin brother who committed a murder-suicide. He married a woman with a handicapped son, helped to raise him, eventually raising three grandchildren as well. In 2021, he finally got his dream to immigrate to America, and was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer only weeks later. We visited with him yesterday. One might expect a bitter and frustrated old man, but no. He and his wife are filled with gratitude for the past months, quiet and calm, to reflect on all the good in their lives. They spoke of all the hardships along the way, referring to them as “backdoor blessings” because while they seemed anything but blessings while occurring, upon reflection they are realized for what they were. We should all be so lucky. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Then I happened upon your thoughts here today, many years after being written. Thank you.
What a beautiful story about your friend…such a testimony about the power of gratitude! Thank you so much for sharing this window into your life–such an encouragement!