So I had just a few extra plastic door hanger sleeves in my office from when we invited people in our community to a Easter service awhile back, so I decided yesterday to stuff them and use them. I inserted a pocket New Testament, a gospel tract, and a church invite into each one. I looked at my map of Nokomis, and found a street I thought would be a good place to hang the door hangers.
I drove to the street, parked, and was greeted at the first house by a big dog, barking at me and letting me know I wasn’t welcome. I decided to skip that house. After walking up the street to the end of the road, I turned around and walked past the Big Barking Dog again so that I could hang the rest of the door hangers the next block down.
When I finished that block, however, I had one door hanger left. Great. I felt like God was telling me to give it to the house of the Big Barking Dog.
I turned around and began walking toward the house of the Big Barking Dog. I was afraid. I prayed for safety. I prayed for courage.
As I approached the house, sure enough, the Big Barking Dog began barking. I greeted the dog by smiling and saying, “Good dog!” I extended my hand with my palm up as a gesture of good faith, allowing the dog to sniff me or lick me, and slightly afraid that the dog would bite me.
The Big Barking Dog immediately stopped barking, and even looked happy. She let me walk right past her, and before I could even hang the door hanger on the handle of the door, the resident of the home greeted me at the door to see what the Big Barking Dog had been barking about.
I let her know that I just wanted to invite her to church, and that she was welcome anytime. She thanked me. I commented that her dog was so friendly (as it turned out, she was). I walked back to my car and drove away.
I don’t know if anything will come of this encounter. For all I know, all the people in those homes could be faithful Christians who have church homes. And that would be awesome.
Maybe this experience had more to do with me learning to trust God through my fears rather than any of the homes I invited.
But either way, I know this: no matter what your Big Barking Dog is, God is bigger.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)