An Unexpected Helper

When I was growing up, people did not believe they needed to lock their doors; in fact, I remember our front door being left wide open all day, sometimes unlocked all night. My siblings and I would wander all over town exploring and investigating whatever we were inclined to without any real fear of calamity. Our bicycles were of utmost importance to our freedom and we greatly treasured them; they enabled us to venture farther than we would ever dare if we were simply walking or skating.

To that end, one morning I decided to ride with our dog Hannibal far enough to see areas I had not visited before. It was a wonderfully sunny, cool day and I could not bring myself to turn around and go back home. I was full of energy as I continued to pedal out further and further until I had passed the edge of town; nevertheless, I determined to keep on enjoying my adventure. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of a figure rapidly running towards me; instinctively I knew I was in danger, but Hannibal was already on the alert. Within seconds, the figure became clear: it appeared to have features of a pit bull, but what registered the most was that it had a thick white foam coming from its mouth.

Hannibal was a medium-sized mutt, far smaller than my attacker, yet he would not abandon me. Instead, he growled and barked at the dog while blocking him at every turn from reaching my bike. The pit bull was relentless and frenzied (most likely with rabies), but my dog simply would not give in. Finally, Hannibal seemed to strategize how to entice the aggressive dog away from me- he began to circle him and my bike until he drew his attention. Hannibal made wider and wider circles until finally, the attacker decided to target him instead of me, chasing my dog until both were out of sight. I was shaken and realized immediately how reckless I had been. I called repeatedly, but Hannibal did not return. As I rode back home, I began to sob and feel remorseful- regretful that my foolishness had probably cost Hannibal his life. I remember praying desperately for Hannibal to return; and out of God’s mercy hours later, he did.

Over the years I have learned that my help is ultimately from the Lord, and He is able to use whatever or whomever is most effective in delivering divine aid. Psalm 46: 1-3 assures us that God is a present (there when we need Him) help in our times of trouble and we need not fear; and Psalm 54:4 declares that, “God is my helper.” The brave heart of my little canine helper that God used that day taught me that the Lord is never very far away, and He knows what I need even before I ask Him (Matthew 6:8). It is a great comfort to know that my Father “watches over my coming and going forevermore” (Psalm 121:8).