The boy was too little to cross the street without assistance. The household rule was that he could not cross unless an adult was there to watch or to even hold his hand while crossing with him. But he could go to Wesley’s house all by himself because it was on the same side of the street, on the same block, around the corner at the bottom of the hill. No streets to cross.
He was on his way home from playing at Wesley’s house when, alas, his required route took the little boy into danger.
The danger was in the form of a mean dog. The dog had a bad reputation among kids on the street and a name to match – Nipper. When Nipper was in his front yard, every kid knew to cross the street because otherwise Nipper would chase you and he was known to actually bite, or at least “nip.”
This little boy faced a dilemma that other children did not. He could not cross the street without incurring the wrath of his mother so he had to decide whether to face Nipper or, by crossing the street in order to avoid the dog, face being in big trouble with his mother. So he did the cowardly thing and chose to face the lesser danger. He chose to face the mean dog.
And he did have to face the dog because on that particular day Nipper was in its front yard. The little boy was justifiably afraid to walk past Nipper’s house. In his fear, he turned to the Lord. At age three, he was too young for regular school, but he attended Sunday School. At Sunday School he had learned about miracles. And he had been taught to pray both at home and at church. So he prayed. He prayed that Nipper would go to the back yard so he could pass by the house safely. He kept praying as he walked closer and closer.
And guess what! A miracle happened! Nipper DID walk from his lookout spot in the front yard. Nipper walked down the driveway and into the back yard. Nipper’s retreat opened, like the Red Sea, a safe route home for the praying child. God did that!
And guess what else! I was that little boy. When I got home, with great excitement I told my mother about the miracle. I told her how I had asked God to protect me from Nipper and that right then Nipper left to go to the back yard. I saw the direct connection between my fervent prayer and Nipper leaving. Appropriately, I gave God the glory.
The next Sunday, Mom told our pastor the story and he smiled and said something about the faith of a little child.
I was blessed by being raised in a Christian home. It was natural for me to have a relationship with God because that was modeled for me by my parents and other family members. Some believers can point to a certain moment when they came to believe. I cannot remember not believing. We come to the Lord in different ways. And each way is wonderful.