Strife, Dogs, and Child-like Faith

Katherine writes:

I am worried, my two-year-old daughter woke up inconsolable and screaming in terror. She had a nightmare that a vicious white dog was after her. Can you help with what this may mean?

Dear Katherine,

White can mean pure evil as well as the positive side of purity. Other negative associations can include leprosy (unclean), self-righteousness, and even death.

Dogs are unclean creatures in the scriptures, where they have a reputation for eating people, and can represent unclean spirits (demons,) worldly/sinful passions, or strife.

Unless she’s had a negative encounter with a real dog that could have spurred this, I’d thoroughly check her environment for strife, as there’s a very strong possibility she’s reacting to strife in her home or some other place she frequents. If this is determined to be the culprit, you’ll have to take measures to alleviate the hostilities for your daughter’s sake, or find ways to protect her from it, such as not allowing arguing to take place in front of her (though if it’s marital strife, a possible meaning for the white color, children too often still sense it even if Mom and Dad are all smiles around them.)

If the problem turns up at daycare or an alternative to it, consider changing caregivers.

If everything does check out on Strife Avenue, and she hasn’t ever had a scary encounter with a real dog, it’s probably a demonic attack. She may be too young to stand up to them, but you can stand against them on her behalf (which as her mother, you more than have the authority to do so if you know the Lord.) Pray the Lord’s protection over her (where she can hear what you’re doing) and also command the devil in the name of Jesus to leave your daughter alone (which if you’re concerned about her getting a bad impression about herself, I don’t believe you have to do this in her hearing.)

Once she’s calm, you can also try telling her to cry out “Jesus” when she has bad dreams, because Jesus is bigger than bad dreams and they are afraid of him and will go away. The faith of a child will probably put more force behind her feeble cry than most grown-ups’. Plus she’ll have you standing in the gap for her as well. If her father is around and knows the Lord, he should pray with you for her, too.

Now, a non-Christian in this situation could still pray for her, it just won’t be as effective without the authority Jesus gave to those who trust in Him. With someone who’s not in right relationship with Christ, the devil is highly likely to not listen, so appealing to God would be more effective than going up against the devil. They’ve been known to respond in this case with something along the lines of, “Jesus I know . . . but who are you?” But that’s not a concern for Christians. If they try that and you know Him, just remind them who you are in Christ.

In His Love,
Andrea Graham