A child saw a lesson about salvation in an event that most of us would think of as tragedy.
I was visiting my little cousins, Cole, five, and Lorinda, two, at their home in the country. We were investigating their great big backyard while watching their little dog, Cowboy, chase frogs in a nearby pond. As we ventured out farther, Cowboy would run ahead on the outskirts of their property. He would sporadically come back to check on us and then dart off again in another direction. We began to explore beyond their property line and found a shallow ditch to play in.
Cowboy stayed with us for a while before he took off again, this time running far out into another field. When Lorinda started to cough, I picked her up and told Cole that we should probably start heading back to their house.
Cole was starting to climb out of the ditch when we heard the most horrific sound. In the distance we saw Cowboy running as fast as his little legs would carry him. Only inches behind him were two huge dogs. By the time we looked up, it was already too late; I knew poor little Cowboy didn’t have a chance.
Concerned that the dogs might turn on us, I screamed, “Cole! We have to get out of here!”
With a look of terror on his face, Cole took off running. I tried to put Lorinda on my back so I could run faster, but she started to pinch me, letting me know clearly that she did not want to be behind me. We ran across acres of land, hearing Cowboy’s helpless cries the entire time. Cole made it back to his house first and found his grandfather.
“Papa, Cowboy just got attacked!” he blurted, out of breath. Lorinda and I came in just them, and his grandfather looked at me and said, “Is he alive?”
I tried to hold back tears as I looked at Cole’s hopeful face and shook my head. “I don’t think so.”
With the kids safely in the house, his grandfather and I went back out to look for Cowboy. We found him quite a distance from the attack; rigor mortis had already set in. I hung my head during the walk back to the house, agonizing over the thought of breaking Cole’s heart.
When we entered the house, the first thing Cole asked was, “Is Cowboy dead?”
I took a long, slow breath and nodded my head. As I choked back my own tears, I watched Cole cover his face with his hands as he wept. His mother comforted him as he tried to make sense of it all.
Cole asked, “Why did those mean dogs have to kill him?”
His mother explained that Cowboy was on their territory and the other dogs were just protecting it.
I added, “Cowboy would have done the same thing, Cole. If a strange dog came onto your property, he would have done all he could to protect you. He would have died before he would ever let anything happen to you.”
Cole looked up, his big brown eyes wide, and asked, “Like Jesus did for us?”
His mother hugged him tighter and said, “Yes, just like Jesus did for us.”
Chills of amazement ran up my spine at the little boy’s response. My little cousin, just five years old, understands that Christ died so that we may live. Something so wonderful is that simple!
Kelly Nadig writes from Redlands, California.