If you have a dog – especially if it is an indoor dog – you know that the pooch has a problem with certain sounds. Thunder rumbling in the distance, sirens, or the occasional loud motorcycle will set off the dog’s barking alarm system, perhaps causing the dog to run and hide. Fireworks popping at your neighbor’s house will do the same thing.
You will try to coax your dog from hiding, ordering it to stop its incessant barking to no avail. Then, you enter a monologue with the dog, explaining that the noise can’t hurt them as if you expect the dog to tilt its head your way and respond, “Thank you for that thorough and caring explanation. Your love and concern for me is most admirable and appreciated.”
The one noise, though, that really trips the trigger of the dog is the dreaded vacuum cleaner. Now, let’s be honest. We’ve had a bit of fun with this one.
Depending on your dog’s temperament, their reaction will vary. Some aggressive breeds who want to defend their family might attack the vacuum. They attack the head as it whisks erratically across the floor. It’s in close proximity to its owner, therefore, the dog is probably thinking that the vacuum has ahold of the human. The dog comes to the defense and rescue of its human and the one who fills its food and water bowls.
Our dog is a gutless wonder that would allow the vacuum to eat us alive if that were possible. Fearing for its own life, our dog might bark a couple of times before running to hide, ducking under the table, running to another room, or behind the couch. If the “danger” gets too close to the dog’s hiding place, it will run for its life to another safer location, allowing the vacuum to have its way with the humans of the house.
PetMD says that the way to help your dog overcome its fear is to vacuum more often. Our vacuum runs multiple times a week and it hasn’t helped. Another suggestion is to make vacuuming a positive experience by giving the dog treats while you vacuum. Ours will leave the treats right where you left them.
One other suggestion was that you put the dog in a secluded room with noise loud enough to drown out the sound of the vacuum. I thinking I’ve seen this technique portrayed in movies where someone has been captured and is being tortured until they give up some secret information. Your dog will now need a therapist!
We may think that it is absolutely ridiculous for our dog to be afraid of the vacuum cleaner. But why are Christians so afraid of witnessing for the Lord, especially here in the United States? This isn’t Communist China. This isn’t the dictatorial North Korea. Ours is not a nation under Sharia Law like Iran, Afghanistan, or Indonesia.
Paul told young Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7-8, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (8) Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.”
While our dog’s fear of certain noises is irrational, how much more irrational is the fear that silences our voices? Even when the possibility of persecution exists, we are not to be silent concerning our witness for Jesus. Our testimony is to be lived and given for the Lord.
I cannot change the “spirit of fear” in my dog. But I am reminded that the spirit of fear in me did not come from the Lord. There is only one source for a fear that would keep us from telling others about Jesus and lifting our voices for Christ in spite of pending persecution and that is straight from the pits of hell.
May fear never be our excuse for failing to witness for Jesus.