I didn't used to be afraid of dogs, at least not in America. However, there's no leash law here, and half of them are crazy and rabid. Yeah, rabid. I had to get rabies shots before I came here and I well know how to run to the nearest drug store should I get bitten (as my brother did this summer when he was here).
The more distance I started running in the mornings, the greater my fear became. I found myself praying more then when I ran than I ever have before. Mostly the same thing over and over, "Protect me Lord!" anytime I ran past a dog. However, the more I ran and the more I became accustomed to the Lord protecting me from those rabid dogs, the less I was praying for His protection. The less I depended on Him to protect me, assuming they'd leave me alone cause they always had before.
It wasn't until last month that as I ran past one, he lunged for me and I quickly made the local gruntal sound (the one they all make to scare dogs away). After that I realized that I hadn't first turned to the Lord...I'd tried to do the same thing all the other people around me do. Scare him away myself.
I realized I'd been doing that same thing in a lot of areas of my life. Like when I first got to Asia. I prayed like crazy for the Lord to provide for my needs...for language teachers, friends, POP, and so on. And then after He provided, I kind of stopped praying and asking for them. As with the dogs, when it was unfamiliar, I prayed and relied on Him a lot. Then, as soon as I was used to it and comfortable (as comfortable as you can get with lose rabid dogs), I stopped turning to Him first.
Well, after my lunging dog last week, this past week as I've been running, I've returned to trusting the Lord. As soon as I see a dirty mongrel, I praise God that He is my Protector, and run by in trust that He will continue being my shield. It's probably been the funnest week I've had running in a long time...
So, as the rabid dogs approach in every other area of my life, may I remember to trust Him first, for He is my Protector, my Provider, my Teacher...and all those other things I try so hard to take care of myself.
"I lift up my eyes to the hills--
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth...
The Lord will keep you from all harm--
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore."