Out of the darkness of early evening a woman ran towards me, screaming, arms flailing in the air above her head.
I was walking home and I'd just passed through the entrance to the shopping centre. The sinking sun had gone and it was pretty dark outside, except for the street lamps lighting up the concourse. Couples buying last minute groceries for dinner threw elongated shadows against the windswept pavement.
It was peak hour, people everywhere, cars jetting all about the place, and there, in the middle of it all, one woman yelled and screamed in desperation, her voice breaking and quavering intermittently as it broke pitch and reloaded.
She gasped as she yelled. I couldn't make it out. Asian in appearance, the language she spoke wasn't English. There is a pitch that, when reached, and even more so when repeated, will make a person stop to listen.
It was as though the entire concourse had stopped in their tracks, all watching this woman, shopping bags in one hand and the other hand ready to do whatever the lady needed. People were ready.
Then the woman collapsed to her knees.
She looked past me and focused on a place not too far behind me. Her yelling grew more frantic, her pitch reached a new high point and the breathlessness increased.
I expected to see a helpless crying child waddling over to the woman. But when I turned I saw a dog, a Husky. It bolted past me and toward the woman. She looked overwhelmingly relieved but it was short-lived. The Husky shot past the woman who, kneeling on the ground, had flung her arms out to try and catch it. The dog ran past her, towards the busy road.
The concourse seemed to gasp as the dog's front legs stretched out, it's back legs tucked in underneath. It skidded towards the road, stopping just before the curb.
Then the dog turned towards the woman and ran in her direction again, passing at full acceleration. A young guy with a shaved head attempted to block the path of the dog and grab it, but the dog galloped and bucked like a horse seeing a snake. For whatever reason, this dog was spooked.
The dog began running frantically in every direction, heading towards the woman, and then veering away as if it didn't know where to go or what to do. That's when the woman, in desperation, hunched her body over and wept.
Yelling had been to no avail. Screaming had achieved nothing. Chasing the dog hadn't worked, so she cried. In the silence I could hear her muttering what I imagine was a desperate prayer or a soft pleading, 'please dog, please.'
Suddenly, a change in direction
The dog trotted over to the woman. She grabbed its collar, held its face firmly against hers and broke down in an embrace with her dog, evidently quite distressed by the playing out of the event. With exhausted sobs she held the dog's collar tightly as he butted, less frequently, but still butted. The dog still looked around uncertainly; something had worried it severely.
As people began milling around once more my heart steadied and I turned to cross the road. As I walked home it occurred to me how the dog's behaviour was characteristic of our walk with God.
Proverbs chapter 18, verse 10 says, 'the name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.'
The gospel presents such a beautiful message. It is not a 'turn or burn' gospel, but one of embrace, victory, and a promise of protection.
Isn't the dog just like us, running frantically, fearful, after something in the world catches us off-guard? Isn't the dog like us, aligning itself with its source of protection, guidance, embraceâthen bolting right past it with the mistaken idea we'd be better off just over yonder? Isn't the dog like us, treading on the precipice of immediate death while the world watches on, then unknowingly, in a last second change of heart, avoiding the cataclysm?
Oh, and wasn't the dog's owner just like God, who, in His quiet whisper directs our steps, in His loving embrace tells us we're won, and with His strong clutch shields us from all harm?
David Luschwitz is from Zetland, Sydney and is passionate about equipping people to "Renew their Minds, Revive their Spirit and Reclaim their Lives."
Check out the vision and mission statement at www.davidluschwitz.com.
David Luschwitz' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/david-luschwitz.html