Years ago, I had developed a friendship with a young man nicknamed “Bear”, a great big guy and gentle as far as I knew. He had graduated high school and was still living at home with his mom. The two of them together was dysfunctional and things were likely to get serious soon. Bear’s mom called me late one night, related some current events, and convinced me that he needed to move out of the home, now! We agreed that I would drop by the house early the next morning, after mom had left for work, and I would tell Bear he had to leave. Bear’s mom said she would leave the front door unlocked as Bear was accustomed to sleeping late and he probably wouldn't respond to a knock at the door. On a cold winter morning, I arrived at Bear’s house reluctantly, but still convinced that leaving his home was the right thing to do. I gave the front door a courtesy knock… and that’s when the storm started.
Woof! Woof! Woof! (Should I put dog statements in quotes?) Oh, for crying out, I thought. Not a dog. I don’t like dogs. They have a mind of their own and I never know then that pea-sized brain of theirs is going to tell them to bite me. I froze. Stay tuned for the rest of the story. First, a word from our Sponsor.
And when [Jesus] was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but He was asleep. And His disciples came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us: we perish.”
And He saith unto them, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. (Matthew 8:23-26 KJV)
Standing at Bear’s door, I thought about waking Jesus up. “Jesus, what about the dog? Can you make the dog go away, you know, like that storm?” But the Spirit cautioned me not to do that. As clear as a bell, the Holy Spirit said to me, “Clark, are you serious? You are here to tell a Bear to leave his den and you are paralyzed with fear of a yappy little dog? Open that door and do your job.”
When God talks to you like that, you get moving. I opened the door, I told the dog in no uncertain terms to shut up, I woke Bear up, and I laid out the situation for him. There was nothing irrational about being afraid of barging into a house protected by a dog. That’s for real! But it was an offense to faith let something like that stop me from my greater mission. Just like the disciples on the sea, Jesus had not called them out there to die and God had not sent me to Bear’s house to get eaten by a dog. The fear was all mine and I had to decide whether to back up in fear or move forward in faith.
Followers of Jesus follow in spite of circumstances. Is your fear keeping you on the porch? Remember that you are following the Lord of Heaven and Earth. He’s bigger than the yappy dogs in your Flesh and Blood world.
Clark H Smith