(By Lois Robinson)
When I was a teenager, I lived on a 25 acre farm and raised African Pygmy goats, as well as an assortment of dairy goats. I would travel for hours with my mom to buy good stock, breed them responsibly, then sell them to responsible owners. I loved it! I still love to watch those crazy videos that come over social media, namely Facebook, with baby goats hopping wildly all over the place. It just cracks me up!
Well, one afternoon, while my mom and I were out in the yard mowing or some such thing, my goat Alfalfa began to holler in a typical “goat stress” manner! He was a 100 lb. Toggenburg with big horns. I typically dehorned all of my goat kids when they were only 2 weeks old (kid is the name of a goat baby) so children would not get hurt, but Alfalfa was an adult when I got him. He had fallen into the septic tank! Actually, it was a homemade septic tank that my grandfather made 100 years ago on the farm. It was hand dug with an old wooden lid on it with an old wooden fence around it. Alfalfa had successfully gotten through the fence and fell into this gross mess. Both my mother and I dropped what we were doing and fled to the scene. Here was Alfalfa, thrashing about in this nasty, stinky, bacteria-filled septic pool. Remember, he was about 100 lbs. I will never forget it. My mom, who weighed about 130 at the time, grabbed that goat by one horn. The scene looked like something right out of the movie Hercules. She lifted that 100 lb. goat out of that septic tank with one full upward motion. I can still see it today, 45 years later. I then rushed in and used my index finger to swipe any nastiness out of his mouth. In the process, he bit me. Goats grind their food sideways so it was not a straight down bite. It was a shredding type so I had to go to the doctor. He did declare my presenting issue his first goat bite!
This blog, entitled ICU, is actually not about the goat bite, but I use this true story as an analogy illustrating some of the important steps in our own healing journey.
Step 1. The I stands for Identify In many cases (not all, but most) in order to have healing in your life, you must Identify the specific issue and state with your mouth what you need healing from. From the above story, we identified that Alfalfa was hollering because he had fallen in the septic tank, a place he did not belong. If he stayed there he would die. When I go a restaurant and the waiter says, “Can I take your order?” I need to identify and state out of my mouth what I want to eat off the menu. In the bible, people approached Jesus to heal them. He would ask, “What is it that you want me to heal?” They would have to identify the issue and state out of their mouths what they wanted healing for. Notice, this is not a passive response but a proactive one.
Step 2. The C stands for Confront- Identifying the issue is not enough. If mom and I just saw Alfalfa in the septic tank and did nothing proactive, he would have died. We had to step up and deal with the situation. Praying the whole time, I knew neither my mom nor I would be strong enough to lift that goat with mess all over him, out of that deep hole. But God! God gave my mom the strength not her own to accomplish something good. When we are willing to identify our problem, our sin, our issue and desire healing in that area, we must call out to God to give us a strength not our own to proceed in the confrontation, the battle ahead. With the goat, it stunk, it was ugly, it was scary, it required more than either of us had to give. But God. We were not afraid to confront the situation. We didn’t run from it nor did we deny it. We did recognize our limitations and cried out the the Almighty One, our God, and we won the victory.
Step 3- Notice in the last step I used the word WE a lot. The U stands for Unite. When desiring transformative healing in your life, you cannot do it alone. You must identify it and state it out of your mouth. You must confront it with others and unite with others to face the battle ahead. You must also recognize you are created to live in community, meaning with others around you. Even if God has made you to be an introvert and crowds exhaust you, you still need to live in community in the way God leads. In the goat illustration, my mom needed to be the one grabbing him up out of that septic tank. I was right there, as her teenage daughter, praying for her and my goat! I witnessed something that my Mighty God did that I will never forget. I was there to swipe his mouth clean. I got bit in the process, but that happens! For any of you wondering, Alfalfa lived for many years after that, and I have learned that my God has lifted me out of some deep septic tanks I jumped into. I had to learn to recognize that I couldn’t stay in them or else I would die. I praise my God for my Savior Jesus who died for all my septic tanks and yours. Check out John 3:16 in the bible.
Blessings, Friends- Lois