Friday, August 5, 2011

Pinky and the Wolf

Long long ago, in a neighborhood far far away (New Jersey) . . .

I had a pet hamster.

My hamster, whom I will call "Pinky" (name changed to preserve his anonymity), lived in a habitrail. He liked to climb up into the "petting box" and scratch at the lid until I would open the box and take him out to play with him. I was always happy to do this, because Pinky was a teddy-bear hamster with long, fluffy fur, and he didn't bite.

I also had a pet dog, an Alaskan Malamute named "Lobo" because he looked just like a timber wolf. Lobo was a thief. It wasn't my fault - my boyfriend's mother used to give the dog a cookie to get him to drop whatever he'd stolen, so he quickly learned that the best way to get a cookie was to steal something. Lobo would snatch things off the counters and tables, shake them a few times to announce that he had them, and then run around the house with them in his mouth, chewing and growling until he got his cookie. (Since I refused to give in to his terrorist tactics, Lobo seldom returned my possessions in one piece.) Lobo was quick. Not only would he snatch things from tables, but sometimes he'd even grab them right out of a person's hand if he thought he could get away with it.

One day I was sitting at the dining room table working on a project, and Pinky was crawling around in his habitrail, which I'd set on the table beside me. After a while, Pinky climbed the tube up to the petting box, looked over at me, and then began to scratch at the lid. I set down my project and reached over to open the box, and then I noticed something. Sitting just a few feet away was Lobo, ears perked. He licked his lips in anticipation and thumped his tail against the floor twice, tensing his leg muscles as he prepared to pounce.

"Sorry, Pinky," I said, returning to my project. "Not now." Lobo was in the mood for a cookie, apparently, and he'd set his sights on Pinky as his hostage. The hamster, however, was oblivious to the danger. From his perch in the petting box, he couldn't even see the dog. But I could, all too clearly. Pinky scratched and scratched, and he gave me the Look - you know the one, the Look you see on calendars and greeting cards with puppies and kittens, the Puss-in-Boots look - with those big dark eyes pleading.

"Sorry, Pinky," I said again, not that he could understand me. Pinky's eyes grew until they filled half his face, and I could almost swear there was a tear in the corner of his eye, but I stood firm. While Pinky scratched and scratched and scratched at the lid, as if to say, "Pllleeeease let me out and cuddle with me!" Lobo waited patiently for my resolve to weaken.

Though I don't remember how the stand-off ended (I think I finally put the dog outside and gave Pinky his wish, but I'm not sure) there are two things of which I AM sure: I didn't take the hamster out while the malamute was there, and the hamster lived to a ripe old age.

Years later, when I came to know Jesus and began to learn about prayer, I remembered Pinky.

Sometimes I want something so badly, and I ask God to give it to me. He doesn't. So I pull up scriptures like the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8) and then I pray harder. I make sure the thing I'm asking for is actually something God says is good, and then I pray harder. I get friends to agree with me. I fast. I pull up some more scriptures. And I pray harder. And still, God says "no."

Like Pinky, I am often oblivious to the dangers lurking close at hand ready to spring upon me and tear me to pieces. I cry out to my Father, "Come love on me!" and I can't figure out why He doesn't. But He does. From His vantage point, He can see everything, and He knows that the most loving thing to do is say, "Sorry, Dee, not now."

Peter put it this way: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that HE MAY LIFT YOU UP IN DUE TIME. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:6-8)

So remember, when God doesn't answer your prayers the way you want Him to, there's probably a hungry malamute crouching just out of sight.

No comments:

Post a Comment