Uno, our dachshund-mix puppy dog, is quite a study in physical responses to fear! Just let the thunderstorms roll in, and our poor little buddy is trembling and shaking uncontrollably. No amount of holding, hugging, petting could ever relieve the stress that builds within this tiny creature once the storm clouds appear.
Firecrackers and rockets on July 4th are just as terrorizing, if not more so to Uno. The celebration in our neighborhood this year was no exception. However, I learned an interesting bit of wisdom through Uno’s traumatic evening.
The rest of the household had left for the holiday festivities, leaving my husband and me ready to retire at our “senior citizen” bedtime. Normally, Uno is in the part of the house where Corrie and her boys live. With them out for the evening Uno was “stuck” to me like glue, shivering, trembling, shaking, severely frightened by all the bangs and booms outside.
Bedtime came, and I tried several “tricks” to coerce Uno into Corrie’s part of the house but to no avail. He was not leaving my side. One thing I absolutely knew would happen if Uno made it into my bedroom was that he would do as he always does….tunnel under the covers and stay there trembling until the scary things went away and his fears subsided. With David already sound asleep, I thought that prospect did not appear to be a very good idea. However, as my
bedtime came and went, I gave in and said, “Come on, Uno, let’s go!” He was quick to jump up on the bed, lift up the covers with his long nose, and burrow down in between “Maw and Paw”. In the next few seconds an unusual thing happened….his body completely relaxed. He did not shiver, shake or tremble. In fact, he went sound asleep. He was at complete rest. The noises were still just as loud outside. There were still fireworks going off. But Uno was at rest.
Paw did not stir….his sleep was not disturbed. I would have to admit, my peace returned as well.
In fact, it was so unusual, I meditated on what message was being demonstrated. Over the next several days the picture of Uno finding such rest would not leave my thoughts. On the way to work one morning a song from long ago dropped into my spirit…”Thou Art My Hiding Place”. The words are beautiful and fitting, not only for this experience but for so much more. “You are my hiding place. You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. I will trust in You. Let the weak say I am strong in the strength of the Lord.”
This, of course, led to a dive into the scriptures to look for the use of the words, hiding place, secret place, cover, shelter, and refuge…..
Psalm 32:7 “You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”
Psalm 27:5 “For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”
Psalm 31:20 “In the shelter of Your presence You hide them from the intrigues of men; in Your dwelling You keep them safe from accusing tongues.”
Psalm 143:9 “Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in You.”
Psalm 91:1-2 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Now to apply….application is everything, right?
Please allow me to dig a little deeper.
This was a picture of how I would love to respond 100% of the time to fear!
There is a “hiding place” in His presence that is safe, no matter how loudly trouble is speaking all around me. There is a rest that is mine if I choose to enter in. There is available to me a safe dwelling that is stronger than any fortress.
The difference in the story of Uno’s determination to “make it to the safe place” and the way I handle scary times is this…..he would not take “no” for an answer. He stuck to me like glue because he knew if he could just make it into the bedroom, he would make it under that safe and secure “cover”. I, on the other hand, have taken many detours around and away from the safety that He offers me in His Presence. I have run to other people, to other busyness, to other things to satisfy….and all along, I just needed to run to my Hiding Place, that Secret Place with Him. No one else can go there. It is the innermost being where He dwells and where He wants to meet with me.
Psalm 91: 4 “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
He will cover me. He will cover you. The question is how desperately will I seek that Hiding Place? How determined will I be to rest in His shelter, His dwelling?
Would someone please remind me the next time you see me trying to “do it on my own”, trying to do anything in my “own strength”…..and obvious to everyone but me that I am actually operating in fear….that it is definitely time to run for my Hiding Place with the Only One… let me repeat that….the Only One Who can cover me with peace.