THE WRITINGS OF RUTH MARTIN
The Preacher's Wife

Baby Elephants and Prayer

I just read an email from my sister, Barbara, in which she said some very complimentary things about my husband's attempts to fulfill any expressed desire of mine. I learned early in our long marriage to be careful what I wished for. Clyde would try his best to get it for me as soon as possible at whatever the cost or effort to himself. He would take my most casual wish at face value and soon there it would be..a wish come true. I was very touched at his sweet generosity and determined never to misuse or abuse such love. Very seldom have I expressed a sincere wish or desire that he has not made every effort to fulfill.

There have been a few brash or foolish or light-hearted wishes that wisely were never answered. One such instance involved a baby elephant. I have always thought there is something very endearing about baby elephants..I guess all babies of any variety have a certain charm about them. The cute awkwardness and clumsiness and yes, the sweetness of baby elephants in spite their size just warms my heart. Silly as it sounds, they bring out the hug in me.

One day years ago, for some reason we were talking about elephants and I made the stupid remark that I wish I had a baby elephant because they are so cute. My daughter Debbie, a teenager at that time, gave me that look of pained endurance that all parents of teens know so well. She said in a no-nonsense tone, "Have you ever petted a baby elephant? They are tough and their hair is all stiff and bristly". (Where she garnered this information I do not know) . I teased her along a minute and then in a serious, patient voice, my husband said, "Where would we keep it and what would we feed it if you had a baby elephant?" Of course, I hastily assured him I really did not want my very own baby elephant but I appreciated his desire to please me.

How like our relationship with the Lord in prayer. Sometimes we enter His throne-room with a prayer for something that at that moment seems absolutely necessary for our happiness and well -being or that of someone else. We do not consider how foolish or selfish or even wrong the request is, and if the prayer is not granted we become a bit huffy toward the Lord or whine and pout or wheedle.

In His wisdom and love He often indulges us, His children, and gives us the "small" and inconsequential things we ask for just as parents love to treat their children with harmless tokens of love. But in the same wisdom and love He will refuse or withhold some things we pray for because of the harmful or even disastrous results that would occur if He granted our requests.

So, maybe it behooves us when we pray to wisely consider what we are asking for ...don't ask for a baby elephant.

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WRITINGS OF RUTH MARTIN

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