Me at 14: Midget and K.C.
As a boy, God often spoke to me. Not audibly of course, but with an inner voice. No I wasn’t schizophrenic, nor did I possess an especially active imagination. Unlike Samuel in the Old Testament, I somehow knew it was God and I did not find it strange or amazing. Now I supposed one could say that I was really just speaking to myself. I don’t believe this to be the case, when God spoke to me it was different some how. It wasn’t my voice, it was His.
Although not exclusively; He usually spoke to me at night while I was in my bed. In the midst of my random musings He would speak, capturing my mind and directing my thoughts. As an adult He seldom speaks to me in this fashion. I have grown in His Word and find that he directs me through its pages, a more sure way of communication. But at the time this was not the case. I praise God that he made himself real to me despite my youthful handicap. I did not know the bible or its theologies. I knew the stories and really only the popular ones. God’s willingness to come to me in this manner speaks of His ability to meet us where we are in life. At whatever stage or age. He is personal, intimate, and tangible.
“I want you to give me your dog Aaron,” I heard him say. “Would you please give me Midget?”
My dog Midget was predominately a miniature poodle, however there was a slightly larger breed mixed in somewhere. As a result, she was a large miniature poodle. She was my most cherished friend and companion; I had no possession that I loved more. If you are not an animal person, it might be difficult for you to understand how much Midget meant to me. She was always happy to see me, she slept at the foot of my bed and literally protected me while I slept, nobody not even my dad, could touch me. She went with me everywhere possible. When I looked at her I did not see a dog, I saw a person that I loved, who loved me back unconditionally. After my Mother, she was my most important relationship.
My Father gave her to me as a puppy. She was the smallest of the litter. So we called her Midget. She was picked on by her siblings and smaller then everyone around her. I was the youngest of 5 siblings who loved to pick on me, and I too was the smallest in my family. I so related to her plight. I was 4 when Dad gave her to me; I was 10 when I gave her to God.
It was this beloved pet that God was asking for. She was the one thing that I loved more then life itself. I immediately became stressed. I asked Him “why? What do you need her for?” Immediately, Abraham and Isaac, as well as, Hannah and Samuel came to my mind.
Like Abraham who was asked to sacrifice Isaac, or Hannah who was asked to give up Samuel, I was being asked to hand over my dog, the one thing I loved the most. I was raised on Sunday school stories; those two stories were very familiar to me. I did not yet understand the deep theology behind them, but God showed me the love that Abraham and Hannah had for Him, in that they were willing to give Him their precious children. He reminded me that I was supposed to love Him more then anything. I knew in my heart that I love Midget more then God. There was no question.
I remember being afraid for her life. When someone dies we say they have gone to be with God in Heaven. Or that God has called them home. It was this sort of thing that I was imagining. If God wanted her, He would take her to be with Him. She was the best dog in the world; it’s what I would have done if I was God. It was within the realm of possibility that if I said yes, to His request, when I woke up Midget would be gone or dead. So I said “No. I am sorry God but I can’t do it, I can’t give her up.” God accepted my answer, for he did not worry me with it anymore, I quickly found sleep and I didn’t give it another thought.
The next Night as I crawled into Bed. Midget began to bite at my feet under the blankets. This was one of her favorite bed time games. I would wiggle my toes and she would attack them through the blanket growling and shaking. She would chase my feet around the bed in this manner for a time until she got board. As I lay there with the light off playing with Midget, I heard His voice again,
“Will you give her to me tonight, Aaron? Can I have Midget?” It totally killed the mood. I lay there overcome with grief. In the dim light that came through my open door, I could see Midget, with the blanket still in her teeth, looking at me, wondering why I stopped moving. I sat up and grab her and pulled her close to me. I ran my hand over her tan soft fur as if it would be the last time. “No, God I can’t. She is my dog, I can’t let her go.” I felt terrible of course and I knew it was wrong to say no to God. But He wasn’t demanding he was asking, so I said no. Again He accepted my answer, but this time I was unable to put His request totally out my mind.
It was like that for the rest of the week. He came to me every night while I was in bed. I began fretting over it during the day. He was never angry, always gentle and always willing to accept my no for an answer. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to say no forever. What it came down to was whether I loved God more than my Dog and I was becoming ashamed that I couldn’t say yes.
By the 5th night I had determined that when he came I would say yes. I dreaded going to bed. I can tell you I was doing this out of sheer obedience, For by this time I was sure she would be dead in the morning.
As I climbed into bed I did not wait for Him to ask me. I simply said “Yes God, you can have her. She is your dog now. I heard him say “Thank you”. I looked at midget expecting her to do something, but nothing happened, I remained awake for most of the night and still nothing happened. She eventually fell asleep just like always. At some point so did I.
I woke up to find that Midget was still alive and well and as happy as ever, the relief that came over me the next morning was beyond words.
Children often have irrational fears, Several months later I found myself watching The Wizard of OZ. Afterwards I was haunted by the idea that the wicked witch wanted to Kill Dorothy “and her little dog too”. Now I knew the witch was fake, but I also knew that the Devil was real and that he hated me just as much as that witch hated Dorothy. If he could, he would kill me “and my little dog too”. Now I knew he couldn’t hurt me because I was saved. But Midget was just a dog. I figured if he couldn’t kill me then he would most likely kill Midget just to hurt me. As I lay there in the night, my imagination got the better of me, and here again, I was sure she would be dead in the Morning. As I lay there feeling helpless, unable to save my beloved dog, His gentle voice broke through my worry and arrested my thoughts,
“Aaron”, He said, “She’s not your dog anymore, she mine.”
It was a revelation moment, relief flooded over me like an ocean wave. The Devil can’t hurt her! She’s God’s Dog! In that moment, all my fears concerning her, left me. That one realization changed everything for me. By giving her to God, she was safer than ever.
Safer Then Ever.
I was 17 when Midget died, I met my wife 4 days later. We were married 2 years later. I had to give her to God. One year later I had my first born son, I had to give him to God too. Three daughters and one more son later, I have no children. They all belong to God. I have come to understand that this life is fraught with dangers not imagined but real and deliberate. As much as I love them, I am a poor keeper. The week I struggled letting go of the one closest to me was not a silly childhood over-active imagination; it was dress rehearsal for real life. I love my family far more then I loved precious Midget. God used her to teach me how to find my peace of mind in a world so full of danger. My family is safer in God’s hands than they ever will be in mine.
When the worries of this life overwhelm me. When my enemies encamp around about me. I am able to rest because I know I belong to God, my wife and children belong to God, and yes, if I had a dog, it would belong to God too.
Your Brother in Christ