How a Goat and an Open Door Taught Me a Spiritual Truth
A goat in the house? That just doesn’t seem an appropriate place to find a goat. It feels unbelievable. But though we may have firm ideas about what is appropriate or inappropriate, there are times in our life when even a goat can enter unawares.
No matter how much we desire to do well, we will always have moments of failure. It is easy to second guess or berate ourselves for the wisdom we have in hindsight that we didn’t have at the outset.
After several traumatic experiences, fear became my constant companion since I was a small child. One night while reading F.W. Boreham’s A Packet of Surprises – the story of an elderly gentleman deeply touched my heart – and introduced a principle that has changed my life.
This precious man lived with constant worry and fear of making the wrong decision. Though he loved the Lord, fear paralyzed him and often left him unable to sleep. One night, in deep anxiety, he rose from his bed and went to gaze out the window.
For some reason, the silvery moonlight shining on the fields below caused him to consider the shutting of a door. It was as if a light went on in his mind. A closed door shuts out whatever is on the other side. As he pondered, he realized worry was an unclosed door. In this lovely vignette – the man learned a secret to overcome his worries and fear. “When I’ve shut a door, I’ve shut a door!”
In thinking about cattle country, there are a lot of gates. When you go through a gate, it is important to shut it behind you. In fact, it is wise to shut it – especially if you live on the other side.
If you don’t, cattle or bulls grazing in the field will access that open gate and go where they are not welcome and where they will cause destruction. Needless to say, cattle, bulls, or even sheep going through a gate that has been placed as a boundary to stop access – can be a real problem.
That reminded me of my childhood.
The Little Billy Goat
We had a friend who was a vet who loved rescuing needy animals. In his mind, there was always room for one more creature that needed to be loved. But his spinster sister, who lived with him, had different thoughts. She kept an immaculate home and disliked animals. One evening he brought a billy goat home. She nearly had apoplexy. “That filthy creature is not coming into this house.”
He tried to explain he would keep it outside but she refused to listen. “Either that smelly thing goes or I go!”
He was able to make her see it was too late to dispose of a baby goat, but he promised first thing next morning he would take it to a friend. He kept his promise.
A Sneaky Plan
About two minutes after Dad left for work, Dr. Bob pulled into the drive. We children ran happily to meet him and were thrilled when he opened the passenger door and out jumped an adorable little billy goat. As our voices rose in excited chatter, Mom opened the back door and came to see who our visitor was. But Dr. Bob ran around to the driver’s seat and quickly backed into the turn around.
Mom Didn't Want a Goat
Mom seeing the goat romping with us and Dr. Bob leaving – yelled. “Bob! Stop!” Running after him she continued yelling. “Bob, you come get this goat!”.
Laughing, he stuck his head out the window. “Have a good day, Evie!” He waved and took off down the road.
Mom was also adamant. She did not want a goat to take care of. After Dad arrived home, he immediately called Dr. Bob. “Bob you have to take that goat back. We don’t want it.”
When Dad got off the phone he was laughing. “Bob says he knows you are a kind lady and will understand. If we take the goat back to him, his sister will leave. She was yelling in the background and poor Bob sounded like he was almost in tears. I think the only thing we can do is keep the goat for the poor fellow!”
Thus Alfredo became a member of our family. But baby goats grow up. We had two acres of unfenced land. One day, Alfredo decided to explore. He crossed a four lane road, and went down the street to visit.
Mrs Smith was happily gardening when she looked up and saw a black and white goat coming up her drive. Terrified, and convinced the goat wanted to hurt her, she ran into her home.
Unfortunately, she left the front door wide open.
Alfredo Meets Our Neighbour
Now Alfredo loved open doors. They were an invitation to come inside. He announced his arrival, which sent her running into her bedroom.
As he entered her home, he saw some stairs going down to the basement. Stairs were another thing he loved. Because the lady had not stayed to play with him, he decided to run up and down her stairs. The front door remained open but he had no mind to leave.
Mrs. Smith finally overcame her fear enough to quietly creep to the telephone in her kitchen. Mom answered and held the phone away from her ear as undecipherable words whispered down the line.
“Who is calling please?”
“Mrs. Smith.” In her excitement, her following words made no sense.
Mom, trying to understand said, “Do you need help?”
At that point, she swore loud and clear, then shouted.
“Get your dangerous animal running up and down my stairs out of my house!”
Shut The Gate
Open gates invite creatures into your garden. Open doors are an open invitation for anything on the outside to enter your home. At the best of times, it is not a wise thing to leave your gate or your front door open.
As I thought about the elderly gentleman who dealt with fear by shutting the door, I realized the principle of closing gates or doors applies to the gates and doors of your mind. Fear is our enemy; it loves to go through open gates and open doors. It respects no open boundary. The gate or the door must be firmly shut to lock out worry or fear.
I used to deal with fearful thoughts by praying feverishly. But fear merely grew worse.
An elderly gentleman told me demons cannot read my mind. They do not have to obey Bible verses quoted in the mind. They only have to obey the spoken word.
Now when I waken in fear, the first thing I do is turn on the bedside light. Spoken truth acts both as a light and a gate. Once my light is on, I shut the gate in my mind by rejecting the fear in the name of Jesus Christ as I pick up my Bible and read out loud.
God’s Word is a Lamp unto our feet. Turn on the Light by verbally praying verses that counter the lie causing you to feel worried or afraid.
Your life does not have to be ruled by anxiety. Perfect love of the Heavenly Father will cast out that fear.
But it is your choice to allow the gate to remain open or to shut it. Just like leaving the gate in the meadow open, or leaving your front door open is not a wise thing to do, it is not wise to leave the gate of your mind open. But if you have, quickly shut the door.
If you are too afraid to face the enemy that has entered, cry out for the Lord Jesus to help you. He has defeated the foe and is able to evict anxiety and fear. But you must shut the door.