I have this dog. His name is Sam. He is a floppy-eared, tail-wagging, roaming and exploring, face-licking, life-loving, black lab. He is also a big, fat scaredy-dog. Every time there is a lick of thunder or any other loud noise he runs for the house, where he high-tails it into the laundry room for a fitting of his “thunder shirt.” He has broken through two cat doors and has literally learned how to operate the front door if it is unlocked. He stands on hind legs and presses down the lever and pushes the front door open letting himself in. If he hears a gun shot, since we live out in the country where people hunt often, he thinks he is a goner. He panics and heads for the house. If we are not home, he roams and roams until he finds a nice person who will take him in and assure him he is loved.
The other morning Sam and I were taking our morning walk, while hunters began occasionally shooting down the road. Each time a shot was fired, Sam would look back at me for reassurance. I could see him shaking in his fur. I would call for him to come see me, and I would lovingly assure him that those “bad old gunshots were not going to hurt Sam” and that “I’ll take care of you, boy” in my best puppy-loving voice. After a visit with me, he would run happily along, until the next shot was fired. Then he would again return to me for declaration of his safety and promise of care. This went on for most of the thirty-minute walk. This dog, whose instinct was to run and hide in the house, felt safe, as long as he was not too far from me. He knew where to go for confidence and for professions of safety and love. And once he had received that, he was okay to venture forth again, not straying too far from the voice of the one he trusts with his life.
I want to be like Sam, returning again and again to the source of my hope and assurance, my safety and foundation of love for my greatest fears. Like Sam, I am scared. Like Sam, I need lots of reminders of love and promises of a plan beyond what my senses tell me is true. Like Sam, I want to be emboldened to go where I feel exposed to danger by the presence of my Strong One.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strenghen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Is. 41:10