Of Attackers, Robbers, Scary Dogs...and Jesus

About 25 years ago a young woman who was working for me shared a story that for me...a non-Christian at the time...was an amazing tale.

She, an attractive 20-something, was walking near her apartment in downtown Erie.  As I recall, it was nearing dusk, and the streetlights were probably starting to come on.  As she walked, she heard footsteps coming up behind her in a fashion that set her intuition red flags flying.  She believed that this was a man who was intent on doing her harm...and she had nothing to defend herself with.  Well, that's not entirely true.  She had Jesus.

When the steps became very close, she turned around to face the man who was approaching, and told him quite simply, "Jesus loves you."

And, as I recall her story, with that the potential attacker blanched with a startled expression...and then went away.

Score: Jesus-1, the evil one-0.

A couple months back I was scanning the online news accounts and came across the story of a clerk in a cell phone store down south who was being held up by a man with a gun.  She immediately began to share her faith with this guy, and ultimately he left the story without taking any money.  (You can read the story and see the closed circuit video by clicking this link.)

Score: Jesus-2, the evil one-0.

Recently I was out for a six mile walk around Edinboro Lake.  Along the way there are any number of dogs that I regularly see.  Two give me concern.  One is always chained and always lunges for me and hits the end of his chain.  This guy doesn't really bother me because I have faith in the chain.  The other one is free ranging on the property...and looks scary...one of the breeds you hear about attacking people and having to be put down afterwards.  Normally this dog stays fairly well up on his property and doesn't pursue me.  But that day was different....

As I was approaching the property where this dog resides, a car was coming down the street in my direction and I had to walk in the grass off the berm of the road (no sidewalks here on this rural stretch of the journey).  I knew the dog was watching me, and I was hoping he would not mistake my stepping off the berm as a trespass on "his" turf.  As soon as the car passed, I was back out on the road again, and walking at a good clip.  I intentionally did not look at the dog or do anything that could be interpreted as a threat to him.  At least I didn't think so.

Peripheral vision is a handy thing to have.  Out of the corner of my eye as I drew even with the dog (who was probably about 100 feet back from the road), I saw him take off running down the driveway toward me....

Now the funny thing is...I had played this scenario in my head about a week beforehand.  What should I do if this were to occur?  Should I turn and face the dog down?  Try to give him a confident command to stop?  Or, would that incite him more?  (Oh, to have the Dog Whisperer with me at a time like this!)

What came to my mind was the woman who told the attacker that Jesus loved him.  She stepped out like David to Goliath and stood fully on her faith in God to deliver her from evil that she was facing.  I thought that if this dog were really intent on doing me harm I'd have to find a way to enlist the Lord's help, as I had no other means of defense.  And sure enough, it looked like this was coming to pass.  So, what to do?

What I did was basically two-fold.  First, I never broke stride by speeding up, stopping, or turning to face the oncoming dog.  Secondly, I said a simple prayer: "Jesus, help me."  I prayed it about a dozen times, very quickly, as I continued to pass that home.  I could imagine the dog's teeth ripping into my calf or my side at any second.  I was worried, try as I might not to be.  But....nothing!  No barks...nothing!

I never did look back.  I simply changed my prayer to a thanksgiving and spent another minute letting God know how I felt about His protection.

Now, maybe this dog is the kind that likes to run after cars and anything else that passes by his home and never does actually attack them (he sure LOOKS the part though).  Maybe he's "all show and no go."  I don't know.  I don't want to over dramatize the matter...but I do want to say that in that moment, I chose to "relax" into God's protective care, and trust that He would be my defender at a time when I was incapable of doing so.  And I choose to give Him the glory for having done so today.

As I lay down for bed that night, I again thanked Jesus for how He gave me safe transit through a scary moment of time...

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge- 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

Psalm 91

If you have a story of God's protection in your own life,

why not share it below as an encouragement to others?