My only daughter was a Missionary to South Africa. She had left home and country at 19, giving a year of her life to serve The Lord. One year turned into twelve. In 2001, Alece was getting married in South Africa, so her dad and I, and her two brothers flew over for the wedding. Alece and Niel planned a magnificent two-day safari for the bridal party and our family prior to the wedding.
On day one of the safari, the trackers gave us fare warnings: do not get out of the jeeps and we had to be back at the chalets before darkness set in. They found all kinds of animals for us – elephants, hippos, and rhinos. (And earlier that week we had seen lions.) It was the most incredible experience. But, as day one came to a close, we still had not seem my favorite, the giraffe. The trackers were driving us to the two chalets within the reserve that Alece and Niel rented for us. The sun had set and it was dusk. Our family was riding in the second jeep. Suddenly, the first jeep stopped and the bridal party hopped out and were running into the bush yelling, “Giraffes!” With cameras in hand, we followed blindly and without thought. But, it was darkening quickly. We could only make out the form of the giraffes running (in a slow lope) away from these screaming humans. The trackers rounded us back up into the jeeps, giving us fare warnings - again.
Upon reaching the chalets, the trackers asked what animals we wanted to see in the morning. I shouted, “Giraffes!” Then under my breath, I asked my Father to please bring giraffes into our path on tomorrow’s safari, so we weren’t wasting our time looking for them. “Please bring the giraffes to us", was the desire and prayer of my heart.
The women settled into one chalet, the men into the other. My daily routine in those days was to be up at 4 AM to spend time in the Presence of The LORD and His Word. So, I asked the women in my room if they would mind if I set the alarm. I was encouraged to sleep in; after all, I was on vacation. I was so tempted! It had been a full few days and I knew I could probably use the extra sleep. But, after climbing into bed, I hit the “on” button.
The alarm rang on time. Trying not to wake anyone, I grabbed my Bible and very quietly worked my way through the house to kitchen to make some coffee. In the dawn of early morning (the sun rises early at that time of year in South Africa), the only place I could find an outlet to plug in the coffee maker was in the dining room. I bent down on the floor to inset the plug and I turned my head to the right toward the large picture window.
There, bent down, and looking directly into the dining room, was a huge giraffe. His nose had to be a ½ inch from the window. Holding my breath, I slowly I stood up and went to the window. Our eyes met and we just beheld each other - God’s creature meeting God’s creature. He stood there so still - as if he was allowing me to absorb his every detail. Oh, those eyelashes! They had to be two inches long. Tears streamed down my face as I gazed on this gentle giant of Africa. It was one of the most stunning moments of my life.
I ran through the house screaming, "Giraffe! Get your cameras!", jolting all the women awake. I then ran next-door, pounding on the door and windows, to awaken the men. I didn't want anyone to miss this Divine Appointment we had with the giraffe. We all gathered outside in our PJs, camera ready. To our great surprise, God had not just brought one giraffe to us, He brought a family of seven - all who seemed not to notice the flashes from the cameras. Eating breakfast from the tops of the trees, they just naturally went about their business, as if their Creator had whispered in their ears, "It's OK. Just let them watch you." And there we stood in the midst of them for about 45 minutes until, as a group, they stopped eating and went their way.
I specifically asked my Father to bring the giraffes to us. In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have thought that this is how He would do that. He bestowed a gift upon me, His daughter, just because He loves me and wanted to bless me. I will never, ever forget His loving, intimate answer to my prayer; and I will never, ever forget those eyelashes!
This was posted over on Tell Me a Story on 4/3/12