Monday, November 08, 2010

Nights of Fear

By Belinda

Although he has a marshmallow soft heart with the people he loves, my brother's dog Bruce puts on a fierce show with other dogs. The last week and a half though, have reduced him to a trembling bundle of terror after sundown.

November 5th is  Bonfire Night in Britain, a night when the capture of Guy Fawkes; who hatched the gunpowder plot of 1605; is celebrated with bonfires and fireworks. The fireworks were going off in the village after dusk for several nights before I left on October 31st and the loud banging that sounded like gunfire, continued nightly until November 5th.

Bruce took to hiding in a cupboard. Rob had to pull him out by the collar with his tail looking like it was glued around his bottom and between his legs, so that he could put his yellow bed in the cupboard for him to lie on.

This past Saturday, on our weekly phone call, Rob said that Bruce had a proper little camp in the cupboard, where he would cower, a ball of jelly, until about 1.00 a.m., when he felt it safe to venture out.

There had been some tips on television in Britain, on how to support pets frightened of fireworks. Rob said that one recommendation was not to reassure them because it only reinforces their fear. Although that would not have been my instinctive approach, I could see the point.

A friend with a chronic illness told me that she wondered where God was, she felt so alone. Someone helped change her perspective when they said, “When you were in school having a test, the teacher was there but she was silent.”

And I was surprised to read in a magazine article recently, that Mother Theresa struggled with an overwhelming sense of isolation from God. It existed for most of her years of ministry among the poor of Calcutta.The reality of God does not depend on us feeling his presence, but how difficult it must have been to feel so cut off from him.

God could be developing our spiritual muscle; faith, trust and maturity during such lonely and dark times. And like Rob with Bruce, he is close by, loving us intensely, but allowing us to develop confidence in the darkness.

Hebrews 12:11 (New International Version)

11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.


Dave Hingsburger said...

That poor dog, being anxious simply as a result of not understanding that the danger isn't real. For me, I understand. I am sometimes plagued by random panic attacks ... deep fear for no reason. It's horrible. Now I envy Bruce, a dark cupboard and a yellow bed sounds like the perfect place to hide away.

Belinda said...

I was upset for the poor creatures too, Dave. And yes, a cupboard sounds like a great idea, doesn't it? :)

Marilyn said...

Awww, a wonderful post, wonderful quote from your friend and a wonderful photo of dear Bruce!

Susan said...

What an incredible post. Full of promise and comfort. I hope I remember it's here the next time I sense that non-existant distance from God that feels so real at the time...