The Water Dog who was Afraid of Water -- By Lyn Chaffart

When my Golden Retriever puppy was eight months old, she didn’t know she was supposed to be a water dog. Oh, she loved “wading”; but she was deathly afraid of getting into the water deeper than her chest!

This particular peculiarity of hers was a bit of a disappointment to me. I had spent hours on the beach admiring the retrievers and their owners playing “fetch” in the lake. I could just imagine myself throwing the stick and my golden dog swimming out to bring it back to me, just to repeat the game over and over again . . . But MY beautiful retriever wouldn’t go in deeper than her chest!

Last summer, while camping along the shores of Lake Erie, I decided to try the swimming thing again. I thought that somehow, someway, I might be able to entice her into the water. I threw a stick, but it went out too far, and as usual, my pup raced around at the water’s edge, but then came back to me looking very forlorn, without the stick! So I threw in another one, this time much closer to shore. She raced into the water, and since she didn’t need to go in too deep, she happily retrieved it. I threw it in again, a tiny bit farther. She retrieved it. And so the game went on, until I threw it just beyond where she could reach it without swimming. And to my surprise, she swam out a few strokes to retrieve it! I was so proud of her!

The game went on, and before we both got tired, she had swam several hundred feet to get her stick. She had finally conquered her fear of water. She had proved to herself and to me that she could REALLY do it. She could SWIM! I went back to the campsite a happy dog owner, already anticipating the game of water fetch we would play the following day.

But to my dismay, when the following day arrived, my pup wouldn’t go into the water any farther than her chest. I was disappointed but not discouraged, and I started up the game of the previous day. But she wouldn’t do it. Any stick thrown out too deep is, sadly, still floating on Lake Erie! I didn’t understand! She had conquered her fear! Why had it returned? Didn’t she understand from the day before that swimming was not only safe, but also lots of fun? It was a very forlorn dog owner who returned to her campsite with a golden retriever puppy, wet only up to her chest.

As I walked back to camp, however, I realized how much like my puppy I am. Every day of my life I live evidence that I can trust God to take care of me, no matter what the circumstance. Yet with each new trial that comes my way, I continue to worry, to fret, to try to handle things myself, completely forgetting that just the day before God got me through something equally as challenging.

I know that I am not in this boat alone. As Christians, we are surrounded with examples of God’s power in our lives; yet every time we are faced with trials and tribulations, we worry, we stress out, we fret and we focus on the problems instead of on the problem-fixer. Wouldn’t our lives be so much better if we would remember from one day to the next just how powerfully God can “fix” our problems?

I am happy to report that now, several weeks of encouragement later, I have a very DIFFERENT dog problem! How to keep her OUT of the water! Her fear is TOTALLY gone. What about it friend? Will you join her? Remember how God has helped you in the past and put your worries in His hands instead of your own. Then, just like my water dog that conquered her fear of water, you, too, will be enjoying the thrill of the swim!

“Be Anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God and the peace that passes all comprehension will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6,7)

Love in Christ,


Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets ( ), Answers2Prayer Ministries,