By: Lala Ball, Guest Contributor
It came as a great surprise to my daughter one early morning to hear the doorbell ring at her front door AND to find her neighbor standing there in her red bath robe to deliver a complaint about my daughter’s sweet-never-would-hurt-a-fly pure breed Boxer.
“Your dog,” she complained, “has been stealing and killing my chickens.”
My daughter, stunned, said, “You must be mistaken. Our dog doesn’t have a violent bone in her body. She wouldn’t hurt any living creature. I don’t know what is getting your chickens, but it isn’t our dog. Our dog stays in her own yard.”
“Well, that’s just it,” the neighbor said. “My chickens kind of go everywhere looking for food. They’re free rangers and they look all over hunting bugs to eat and your dog doesn’t need to bother them even when they aren’t in our yard.”
“She wouldn’t,” my daughter assured her. “She is not a killer.”
“Well, okay,” the neighbor said, “but I saw her with a chicken in her mouth and she better leave my chickens alone.”
And then the neighbor left.
Well, as things would happen, the next morning my daughter was looking out the front window and there went their sweet family dog down the road, coming from the direction of the neighbor’s house, with a big black speckled Dominique hen in her mouth.
Hysterical, my daughter caller her husband at work and told him about the dog’s crime and he assured her that he would handle it with the neighbor. And he did. He called the neighbor and confessed what happened, apologized, and promised to pay for the loss of her hen. But he also told the neighbor she might want to consider a fence around that part of her yard where she has chickens, because, isn’t it true? “A dog’s gotta do what a dog’s gotta do!”
It was a tough spot for my daughter’s dog to be in, but it was an even tougher spot for the little Dominique. And you may be able to relate.
When a dog or person or circumstance or situation in your life has its teeth around your body and is carrying you off to what you know to be a certain death, a good prayer to throw up to your Father in heaven is “Help, Lord.” There really isn’t time for you to go home and write a prayer or recite one you’ve memorized or even to go into any details or specifics regarding your tough situation. “Help, Lord” is about all you can manage and “Help, Lord” has to be enough.
Our Dominique might have benefitted from a prayer like that if she had happened to be a chicken of faith, but more than likely she probably just didn’t have the thoughtful insight to do that.
But we do, don’t we? We know how to pray. We can spit out the Lord’s Prayer. Some of us even know the ACTS of prayer—adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. And most of us, if pressed, can pray in the language of Zion with plenty of thees, thys, thous, and so forth.
But the truth is, when you’re the chicken and the dog has got his teeth around your neck, and we all find ourselves in a tough, desperate situation from time to time, there really just isn’t time to do any fancy praying and the only thing that we have the time for and, really, the only thing that we need to pray is “Help, Lord,” and His word promises us that He hears us.
Yes, y’all, in a desperate situation, a critical situation, a life and death situation, all our theological wordiness goes right out the window and we cry out a heart-wrenching prayer of “Help Lord” and we can know that it is enough and He hears us.
In Mark 6 Jesus had been preaching to a huge crowd. He was very tired and the crowd kept closing in. He sent his disciples in a boat over the Sea of Galilee to a little place called Bethsaida while He went off by Himself up on the mountain to pray.
As it started to get late and night was coming, He saw them over on the lake fighting against a storm that had come up. Knowing they needed help, Jesus started toward them on the water, meaning to pass by them when they saw Him. Frightened out of their minds, certain that He was a ghost, their terror was pretty obvious until He identified Himself with a reassuring “it is I” and then they immediately calmed down. He got in the boat with them and—whoosh—the wind calmed and they went on their way.
Now the reason they had found themselves in this situation to begin with had been because they were obeying a word from the Master—“Cross over to the other side.” Jesus had a destiny in mind for them and in their obedience to His direction for their lives, they came up on one of the biggest struggles they would ever face. Right there where they were doing exactly what Jesus Himself had told them to do, a monumental storm arose.
And isn’t that exactly how it is at times? The Lord reveals to us what we are convinced is His will, we step out in obedience to what He has told us, and then it starts—one challenge after the next.
You may have been following a word from the Master, too. And in the everyday planning of your life as you’ve taken definite obedient steps to follow Him, you may have run smack dab into a storm. Now anybody can obey God when the sun is out and there’s no storm in sight, but it takes people of faith to keep walking when the wind picks up and a storm is brewing. In fact, it just may be one of the most positive testimonies to your correct discernment of the will of God for your life when you begin to face obstacles because it is, unfortunately, a fact of the spiritual battle we are in that the enemy will resist us along with any and all efforts we make toward obeying the Lord when we step out in faith and move in the direction He has pointed us. But he won’t win. He can’t win—unless we let him.
This may be the very situation you find yourself in today, but don’t be discouraged, take courage in the fact that the One who called you will make certain that you get where you need to if you keep on walking in the direction He has led.
And while you continue to walk out His will, keep these things in mind:
- Stay the course even in the middle of the storm and don’t forget to call on Him—“Help, Lord!”
- Keep your eyes on the Master—not the storm. He has not let go of you.
- Remember that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it in you until the day of Christ Jesus!
Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for “A Tale of Two Chickens,” Part 2—Yes, there is a point to these chicken stories.