A Mother’s Unanswered Prayers

By Ruth Bell Graham   •   May 2, 2012   •   Topics: ,

Had I been Joseph’s mother
I’d have prayed
protection from his brothers:
“God, keep him safe;
he is so young,
so different from
the others.”
Mercifully she never knew
there would be slavery
and prison, too.

Had I been Moses’ mother
I’d have wept
to keep my little son;
praying she might forget
the babe drawn from the water
of the Nile,
had I not kept
him for her
nursing him the while?
Was he not mine
and she
but Pharaoh’s daughter?

Had I been Daniel’s mother
I should have pled
“Give victory!
This Babylonian horde—
godless and cruel—
don’t let them take him captive
—better dead,
Almighty Lord!”

Had I been Mary—
Oh, had I been she,
I would have cried
as never a mother cried,
“… Anything, O God,
anything …
but crucified!”

With such prayers
Importunate
my finite wisdom
would assail
Infinite Wisdom;
God, how fortunate
Infinite Wisdom
should prevail!

Taken by permission from “Ruth Bell Graham’s Collected Poems,” by Ruth Bell Graham, ©1977, 1992, 1997 The Ruth Graham Literary Trust.