When I was 12, my parents gave me a Chihuahua. She weighed 4 pounds and her height was 10 inches tall at adult age. She had a lot of fire and was not afraid of a challenge. One night I opened the front door of the house to let her outside before bedtime. I stood at the door waiting for her but instead, she shot off the porch barking fiercely. Swiftly she rounded a hedge at the corner of the house and disappeared into the darkness. Instantly I heard the all familiar snarl of a cat and then my Chihuahua released a terrifying shrill, notifying the world that she was mortally wounded.
She bounded back to the porch and into the house without stopping to acknowledge me. I closed and locked the door behind me and ran to see the extent of her injuries. Looking at her I found no visible signs of blood on her fur and at a quick observation, she appeared to be alright. Suddenly, I looked into her eyes. They were filled with horror and almost crossed as if directing my gaze to something on her face. It was then it caught my glance. Scanning down to the end of her snout, everything became very clear to me. I saw a long scratch across her small, brown, delicate nose. It was screaming for pity and attention. She gave herself a sloppy lick lathering her nose with warm, moist saliva while begging me to do something to make the pain and disgrace go away.
The cat probably could not have chosen a more sensitive place to plant her sharp claws. The cat was undoubtedly warning my dog to keep her nose out of her business! My Chihuahua soon realized she would live to fight again. She slowly slinked to her basket and snuggled into her pillow, having been sufficiently consoled by me and my mother.
A few months later, I was with my Chihuahua in the back yard when a fully-grown German shepherd strolled into our space! My dog bounded toward this larger dog in attack mode. She was barking fiercely while attempting to protect her territory. Wiser since her encounter with the cat, she suddenly stopped short of running into the towering, muscle bound, male shepherd who looked down at her with mild curiosity. He did not advance to her challenge. Standing a few feet away from the shepherd, my dog pushed backward with her 2 rear feet kicking up grass and dirt, attempting to make him intimidated. He probably chuckled inside at this noisy, miniature fur ball begging for a fight. He obviously did not take her challenge seriously because he graciously gave her a stay of execution, as I breathed a sigh of relief.
The encounter with the cat did not cause my Chihuahua to give up her willingness to defend her yard, but it did cause her to more wisely choose her approach, weighing the options carefully before committing fully.
Reliving this story as I was writing it caused me to have an interesting observation about my dog’s aggressive behavior:
1) She never looked to me to cover for her. I was certainly willing to do just that, and did one time when she was in the alley behind our house. A speeding car would have killed her had I not intervened. At any moment, I would have protected her, but she took off after her enemies without appealing to me or allowing me to become involved.
2) She may have become aggressive not only to protect her territory but also to defend me. She did not seem to realize that I could have defended myself and was much larger and more powerful than she, fully capable of protecting her and myself.
Having walked many journeys in life up to now, I have realized that I do not have to fight my own battles. God has been there for me even before I knew Him and acknowledged Him. He has always desired for me and all His children to cry out to Him for help in our time of trouble, even when we felt the need to “defend” Him. He is certainly bigger and stronger than all of us.
King David comes to mind as I ponder the lesson from my dog’s story. David was a warrior at a young age. We know from scripture that he had successfully killed a lion and a bear while defending his father’s sheep. In 1 Samuel 17 we find the story of David, still a youth, defeating a 9 foot giant named Goliath, who made all the great warriors of Israel shudder. He was fearless going into battle and he never considered the possibility of defeat.
His secret of success was not trusting in his own tenacity and strength like my Chihuahua. It was his faith in God and His strength that gave David victory in battle. David knew when trouble arose, he could call upon the name of the Lord for help and deliverance. By doing so the weight of the battle was not upon his shoulders, it was on God’s. Although David trained and grew strong and skilled in battle, he depended upon the Lord to give him supernatural strength above and beyond what any natural man could wield.
When David found himself in great distress, he knew if he cried to God for help He would answer and deliver him out of all his troubles. Psalm 18 is a beautiful recant of David’s faith and trust in God and the Lord’s faithful and sure response to his child in danger.
“I love You fervently and devotedly, O Lord, my Strength. The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower. I will call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.” (Psalm 18:1-3). In verses 4-6 David describes his dilemma as he cries out for the Lord’s help and deliverance.
In verses 7-17, David discourses with great detail the Lord’s willingness to move heaven and earth on his (our) behalf to rescue His child from danger and distress. “Then the earth quaked and rocked, the foundations also of the mountains trembled; they moved and were shaken because He was indignant and angry.” (On David’s behalf) verse 7… “He bowed the heavens also and came down; and thick darkness was under His feet”…“He sent out His arrows and scattered them; (David’s enemies) and He flashed forth lightenings and put them to rout.” (Emphasis mine) verses 9 & 14. The whole chapter is a must read.
“They confronted and came upon me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay and support. He brought me forth also into a large place; He was delivering me because He was pleased with me and delighted in me. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness (my conscious integrity and sincerity with Him); according to the cleanness of my hands has He recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not wickedly departed from my God…” (See verses 18-28) (Emphasis mine).
David then revealed the source of his strength in verses 29-45. “For by You I can run through a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall (Verse 29)…He is a shield to all those who take refuge and put their trust in Him. For who is God except the Lord? Or who is the Rock save our God. The God who girds me with strength and makes my way perfect? He makes my feet like hinds’ feet [able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble]; He sets me securely upon my high places. He teaches my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” (Verses 30b, 31, 32, 33, 34) (Emphasis mine). “For You have girded me with strength for the battle: You have subdued under me and caused to bow down those who rose up against me.” (Verse 39).
Psalm 18 ends with David praising the Lord for His greatness, His faithfulness, and love. David knew his God and understood God’s great love for His people. Even when David’s sins of adultery and murder were exposed, he trusted God to be just in His judgment toward him, and fair as He meted out the consequences David would have to face for his transgressions.
The devil must laugh at us, like the German shepherd in the story, when we try to fight our own battles using our own strength. Our victory is sure when we seek the Lord for His wisdom and strength using His strategies. Having true faith in God and obeying His commandments grants us immunity from the enemy and assures us all the power of heaven will come to our defense. It doesn’t mean we won’t see trouble, but like David, God will deliver us out of all our trouble and set us in a high place of refuge. It means we have an open heaven allowing our cries for help to go upward and our deliverance to come down to us in due time.
No matter what we are facing today, we must KNOW that God desires to show Himself strong on our behalf. (See 1 Chronicles 16:9). He will give us the victory when we put our faith and trust in Him, therefore, we need never give up!