My heart pounded as I stood on the porch, at the front door. Snowball, a stocky, bull-dog mix, stood on the inside of the trailer, barking. My hand trembled as I knocked. A raspy-sounding growl erupted as Snowball glared through the glass. My pounding heart leaped into my throat. I glanced over my shoulder to my mini-van parked in front of the trailer. It’s just three stairs and a short jog to safety. Taking in a deep breath, I prayed silently. “Lord, I know you sent me here. So, please put a hedge of protection around me.”
“I’ll be right there,” called my friend, Terry’s* familiar voice.
“Okay,” I called back.
As I waited for her my mind drifted back. The Lord had sent me as His hands and feet to assist Terry and her four children. When I first met Terry, she lived on the brink of despair – struggling with poverty, depression, and involved in an abusive relationship. But the Lord had so lovingly known Terry needed encouragement. He loved and cared about everything she’d been going through. So, that blustery winter-morning, I made the long trek across town to drive her to the welfare office.
Terry opened the door. “Sorry, to keep you waitin’ so long. Come on in.”
“Oh, it’s no problem,” I reassured her as Snowball glared at me, his back slightly arched. My feet felt glued to the porch. “Uh, could you please lock Snowball in one of the back bedrooms?”
Terry grabbed his collar, pulling him back. “Oh, Snowball, you know Annette.”
Without taking his eyes off me, Snowball stood at attention.
“Annette, he seems okay today. I think he’s getting used to you.”
“Yeah, come on in.”
As I stepped in, standing at the doorway, Snowball sat down.
“See, he is getting used to you. Maybe, if you petted him, he’d really get used to you.”
“I-I do like dogs, you know.”
“Yeah, so go ahead, pet him.” Walking off, she yelled, “I’m going to go grab my coat, I’ll be right back.”
My hand shook as I reached out to Snowball. Since he wasn’t growling, I gently caressed his head. Snowball laid down as my heart stopped thumping.
Johnny,* Terry’s two-year old son came running toward me, waving a car, bigger than his hand. Mumbling to me, he thrust his car forward.
I bent over to make eye contact. “Wow, Johnny, I really like your car!”
Suddenly, a fierce growl erupted as Snowball lunged forward, widening his clenched jaw. My gloved right hand, laid in the confines of Snowball’s mouth. But at that moment, a peace which passes all understanding came over me. I didn’t feel the need to yell, scream, or pull my hand out. His throat and tongue felt velvety, like a horse’s nose.
“Snowball! NO!” Terry screamed as she darted for the door. Grabbing his collar, she braced herself, and pulled with all her might. But the peace remained. Moments later, with a thrust, the dog jerked backward, almost toppling over. While scolding him, Terry escorted Snowball to a back bedroom.
I examined my hand, touching my glove. It wasn’t even wet! Pulling my glove off, I turned my hand over and over - no bleeding, bite marks, not even a scratch.
The Lord’s promise in Psalms 91:14 is…“I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” I know the Lord truly protected me from the fierce bite of Snowball. And we can count on all the Lord’s promises – that He’ll protect us - even when we’re faced with danger.