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Ever try to pry open the jaw of a pit-bull?

Ever try to pry open the jaw of a pit-bull?

Peace involves removing the conditions and causes of hostility that separate people from God, from themselves, and from the world around them. I’m reminded of a time of hostility in my own front yard and the joyfulness that came when the source of hostility was removed and peace ensued.   

One afternoon, years ago when my kids were still at home, I was helping my son, Micah, with some homework when our trusted askal (Tagalog for “mutt”) Russ’ violent barking interrupted us. I should explain first that the night before, to the delight of our four children, Russ (a misnamed female) had given birth to five puppies. She wouldn't let anyone, with the exception of our kids, close to her new litter and was barking at anything that moved. But now we realized that the barks and snarls were coming from outside the gate. Russ had squeezed underneath and was frantically going after our neighbor's dog, Peachy, a pit-bull. 

My wife, Cindy, grabbed a dog leash and ran to the street where the two dogs were already engaged in a fight of Pacquiao-like proportions.  She was trying to separate the battling canines but needed help and called for Micah, who was happy to leave his homework. The mêlée just grew worse. My two daughters, Lydia and Cana, were playing on the street in front of our home with neighbor children. Soon, everyone was screaming and crying. As I made my way out the door, I could hear Lydia's cries above the rest screaming, "NOOOOOO!" with all she had. I knew she thought her dog was dying. She was right. I saw that, on the street, Cindy was trying to hold on to Peachy while Micah pulled Russ. The pit-bull’s teeth were clamped onto Russ' throat, and she would not let go. Attempts to separate the two were not accomplishing anything. The pit-bull growled as she shook our now lifeless family pet back and forth in her strong jaws. 

I ran to the fray on the street and straddled the pit-bull. I could not see any other way, and so I forced both my hands into the pit bull’s big, bloody mouth and tried with all my might to pull her jaws open. I could not. Then, my normally peace-loving wife took the dog leash she was still holding and wrapped it around Peachy's neck and began to strangle her. As the pit-bull struggled to breath, her muscular body slowly weakened, and finally I was able to pry her mouth open enough to free Russ. We were all scared and crying as Micah took Russ inside and Cindy and I tied the leash around the collarless pit-bull and Cindy led her home. Peace. I just stood there and hugged my daughter. 

When I finally went inside, I expected to find our dog Russ lying in a puddle of blood, but instead she was back nursing her puppies. The fur around her neck was mangled and wet with saliva and her own blood. But it seemed that she was not still bleeding. I had seen Peachy's death grip on Russ' throat, and I know how hard the pit-bull was biting; my fingers were bloody with my own blood when I got them out of her mouth. Miraculously, Russ was now totally back to normal. Does God sometimes take special care of MD's (missionaries' dogs)? 

Almost equally surprising was that my son, Micah, went right back to his homework. Despite this, I could no longer help it. Still trembling, I sat down beside him. My tears of fear were slowly transformed into tears of joy as I began to hear God speaking through what had just happened. I explained to my son that we were all just like Russ and had gotten ourselves into a terrible situation. Our sin and stupidity had gotten us caught in the hostile death-grip of Satan. His sharp teeth were firmly implanted on our throats. We were powerless to free ourselves, and no one around us was able to pry us from the grip of Satan’s trap-like jaw. Then, God sent us a rescuer who came in peace and didn’t save us through brute strength, but instead freed us by somehow placing his own bloody body in those same inescapable jaws. Jesus, our Savior, died to save us. And now he’d sent us back to the street, where we’d been trapped, to proclaim the freedom through Christ to others caught in Satan’s bloody death-grip.

Oh, Prince of Peace, keep us always aware of what You’ve rescued us from and passionately on the street, pointing others to the freedom that only You can secure.