My daughter and I slip into the welcome center just minutes before closing time. We’ve driven my son back to school in Mississippi, and this is the final state line to cross on our journey home.
As we race back to the car, I giggle like a child, focused more on getting out of the biting wind than looking like an adult. We drive past the last parking spaces and picnic tables and spot a little brown dog, red collar around his neck, watching us go.
I stop, back up, and pull into the last space as my daughter gets out and goes to help him, but the little guy races away from her and across the lawn. We drive toward the exit and see that his path crossed the truck exit ramp. I pull over and my daughter follows him again, but this time he runs deep into the woods, afraid, though we mean him no harm.
Surely the owners are near. Maybe the dog slipped out when they opened the car door and they don’t realize he’s gone? No cars wait behind us, so I put mine in reverse and drive back to the welcome center.
I tell two DOT employees about the dog, but they direct me to the the lady emerging from the gift shop, keys in hand, locking the doors at the end of the day. Yes, she knows about the dog. She placed blankets outside for him tonight.
Because he’s been there for two days. Two days.
Two days of fear. Two days afraid to accept food and help from strangers. Two days of living unprotected from winter winds. Two days of feeling abandoned.
The sun begins to set and I feel helpless as we drive away, staring at a thermostat that reads 29 degrees, wondering if this little dog will survive the night. My heart hurts for him.
How often do I live this way, afraid to trust, refusing the assurance that God will shelter me, running from the safety of His protection?
He who says, “Peace, be still,” and calms the waters can surely calm me, too. He offers more than food and blankets: He offers Himself, all that I need. The God of the universe woos me with His perfect love and I don’t need to be afraid.
Do you live like this little dog, afraid to trust the Lord to protect you?