I was at a prayer meeting recently hosted by a dog-lover. This woman has a beautiful collie/golden mix who regularly participates in our prayer meetings. On this night in particular though, the weather got stormy. As the thunder and lightning outside the windows increased, so did the dog’s fear. He kept pacing around the living room, making people move their legs, sitting first next to one person, then next to another. He just couldn’t calm himself down. He even tried to hide behind a small decorative lamp by sticking his face into that corner—an ineffectual hiding spot for a dog that big.

Finally our host took hold of her dog’s collar and pulled him back gently toward her. She held on and the dog settled down. As long as he wasn’t left to his own decisions he felt safe. He eventually calmed down to the point that he drifted off to sleep. But when our host gently let go of his collar, the dog looked up at her as if to say, “You’re not letting go of me, are you?”

People and dogs have more in common than we’d usually like to admit. Left to our own devices with all options wide open, we feel stressed. Sometimes we begin feeding into our own panic and can’t calm ourselves down. But when someone greater than ourselves says, “No. Stay here with Me and I will keep you safe,” then we can find rest. A life governed by God and lived in his presence brings peace.