My husband who is tall peered over the wall and he glanced to the right and then the left and then the right again. I stood at the back door thinking what in the world is he looking at? He turned to me and said, “You are not going to believe this! There are three Pit Bulls that are all chained with cables to three different trees. Two adult sized dogs are at the end of their stretched cables and are both barking at a smaller sized Pit Bull. The smaller one, is also chained which could be a puppy or female, is only a few feet away cowering and shaking.” Needless to say, Don was dressed immediately and out the front door heading to their house. He rang the door bell and knocked on their door to no avail. The cars were in the driveway so they were home but refused to open the door. Just to ease your mind, we did take other actions for the dogs.
Can I just say I HATE stories like this about animal cruelty? I hate them! I wanted to go get those tenants and chain them to the trees! How can anyone be so cruel? I wanted each of those tenants to feel the fear that the smaller dog was enduring, because it knew that if the two bigger ones got loose, he or she was in serious trouble. Fear can be so paralyzing and crippling. Fear will torment you and left alone will destroy you.
I recall three situations where fear had encompassed my whole being. The first one was when I was home alone (about 12 years old) and thought someone was in the house. I hid behind a piano for two hours paralyzed in fear while I waited for family to come home. The police were called when they arrived it was confirmed that shoe prints were outside the window I thought I had seen someone at.
The second fearful time was at a Junior High Church camp in the Sierras. The Forest Rangers had come and talked to our leaders about some problems near our camp and to warn us to be careful. I was walking with another girl and we each had a toddler that we were carrying. We were within 200 yards of camp when a van load of guys (I was 13) drove down a road by us and they stopped. For some reason I knew it was the van the Forest Ranger had warned about. We turned and began walking toward another camp, so that we weren’t alone, and somehow we got totally turned around. We wandered for two hours with these toddlers and had no idea where we were! The whole time we could hear the motor of the van somewhere around us. The sun was going down, it was chilly and the fear began to take over. By the grace of God we found camp and were hysterical. We could hardly tell our leaders what had happened! That night they did find the van and of course the guys were up to no good.
The last situation I still thank God today for keeping me safe because it could have turned deadly. When I was sixteen, out of my own stupidity I accepted a ride from a guy I had just met at the beach. I was alone after someone dropped me off and thought I was going to meet up with a friend. They never showed, so lying alone in the sand, this guy comes up and starts talking to this naïve teenager, so I figure what do I have to lose? We sit at the Huntington Beach Pier for the afternoon and when I am ready to go call for a ride, this guy offers to drive me home. He is going to go work out at a Karate studio located near my home in Westminster. After we get in his car, he then informs me that he has to go to his place to pick up his ghee. When we are driving in the exact opposite direction of my house my heart begins to pound. What was I thinking? Nobody knows where I am, or who I am with and I have just put myself in a dangerous situation! Of course we don’t have phones. When we get to his house in Seal Beach, now he has to go take a shower. I stayed by the front door because I am bailing if he comes out indecent. I will sum up the story with yes he did have an ulterior motives, but again by the grace of God, I made it home safe and sound. Yes, I did learn a valuable lesson about that situation and I NEVER did it again.
Just like the younger Pit Bull cowering in fear, I have felt my share. Some of my fear was caused by circumstances yet some was my own stupidity. But out of all that I have felt, most of it was brought on by an enemy. We have a real enemy that would love to tear into us and destroy us. I said to Don after calming down that morning that this picture is just like Satan. He barks loudly, (or roars loudly) and acts like he is on a taut leash ready to pounce. When we buy into his intimidating tactics we react in fear. Notice I use the word react instead of respond. We RE-act towards a situation with some emotion/action we know very well, which is called our default button. Maybe for some the default button is anger and when fearful you react in anger. For others the default button is fight mode so your fists are up and ready. The following is an excerpt from an article called Common Response to Fear, it states, “Intense fear can cripple us, stealing our focus and energy away from our goals and dreams. So often, we blame ourselves for feeling any fear or doubt whether it’s the fear of failure or the fear of rejection. We find that intense fear can be grouped into three basic categories “flight,” “fight” or “freeze” responses. The article goes on to say that many other issues manifest themselves out of the three categories, but the root of all is fear.
In conclusion, two verses came to mind. The first is a REACTION verse. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” He is on the prowl, sounding intimidating and scary just looking to devour someone. Yes, if a lion roared at me, I would probably pass out in fear, but if I knew that he was toothless it would be a different story. Our enemy only sounds loud to inflict fear. Just like these two large Pit Bulls they were inflicting fear, but were chained. They could not carry out the threat.
The second verse is a RESPONSE verse. Hebrews 13:5, I will never leave you or forsake you.” The Lord is saying He will never leave you. Forsake means to abandon, leave helpless, leave behind, desert. God, the creator of the universe says to YOU!!!!!! I will NEVER leave you or abandon you. Do you get that? NEVER, and again I repeat NEVER! He will be there with you through it all. Now, you might leave him behind or desert him, but He would never do it to you. I could just picture Jesus sitting down in the dirt next to that terrified and shaking Pit Bull and putting his arm around him while he soothes it speaking loving words and staying there with him. Jesus does the same for you, therefore our response should be, “Lord I can get through this fear with you right beside me.”