Don’t Be Afraid of the Dog, the Dark, or the Unknown by Jo Russell

As off-duty teacher Roberta reined in Ginger from a walk around the community park,  she spotted her student, Jeffrey, and waved.

“Hi, Mrs. Jackson!” the boy hollered.

“Hey, Jeff!” she noted he was coming from the cabana where the community harvest party just ended. “Did you have fun at the Halloween Party?”

“Yeah, but I got to get home now.”

“How far do you have to go? It’s getting dark.”

“I live in Shumway.”

“Eight miles away,” she remembered. “Are your folks coming to get you?”

“Nope. They’re at home watching TV.”
“I’ll give you a ride. Ginger’s friendly and she’ll stay in the back seat.”

Jeff sized up the dog. Her paws the size of dish pans took up most of the upholstery. The dog’s tail waved against the window on one side and wet nose smeared the window on the other side. Her tongue was as long as a beach towel. The pony-sized animal was a whole different canine than the three yappy, tail-wagging dogs at his house.

“You’re not afraid of dogs, are you?”  Roberta asked.

“Nope, we’ve got three of them.”

“Good. Ginger doesn’t bite. She loves people.”

As Jeff got into the SUV and Roberta began the drive down the country highway, Ginger edged between the seats and nudged the boy with her furry, ham-sized jaw. As Jeff got a close-up view of dog dental plaque, his eyes grew wide as he thought of the husky, “My, what big teeth you have!” And Jeff leaned closer to the window.

With him giving her more room, Ginger shouldered her way even further between the seats. Jeff noticed what big ears she had as the husky pressed her face against his. He got a close-up view of her blue eyes with them cheek to cheek. With two miles to go, Jeff flattened himself against the passenger door while the 90-pound dog edged beside him. Though car manufacturers never intended a bucket seat to provide space for two fifth-grade-sized warm bodies side by side, the husky wasn’t about to move.

Roberta assured him, “Jeff, the dog doesn’t bite. She just loves attention – and your side of the car! That’s where she usually rides.”

When they reached Jeff’s home, three dogs ran out to greet the visitors and Ginger barked her happy hello as she compressed Jeff even tighter against the door.

Jeff peeled himself off the windowpane, sprung the door open, and stumbled out with a sigh of relief. He’d take his yippy small dogs anytime. He would trade his seat for his life. Ginger smiled a big, toothy grin.

Fear: It’s an emotion that can change our perspective and limit our opportunities by its very paralyzing power. It can arise over anything.

It reflects God’s inspired verses and situations showing Him as the ancients’ advocate and ours: how He brings help when it is needed.

King Solomon penned these words, “Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.” [Proverbs 3:25 NIV].

God advised the prophet Jeremiah, “You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord.” [Jeremiah 1:7b – 8]

To a senior thinking he was too old to father a child, an angel appeared beside Zechariah, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife, Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.” [Luke 1:13].To a young virgin, an angel assured Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” [Luke 1:30-32]

Our fears are not so different from those people and situations in the Bible: our anxiety about freedom, relationships, resources, needs, emergencies, and the unknown. But God is with us. And when He sits beside us in the front seat, He’ll still leave us plenty of room.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

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