What a Nanny Goat Taught Me about Restoration
When I read the Bible, I am struck by how God always restores something to a better state than the original condition. Jacob was cheated in his wages seven times by his uncle Laban, but God blessed Jacob and increased his flocks so he left Laban’s house much wealthier. Job’s end was better than his beginning and God gave him double of what he originally had. Joseph was sold into slavery, but God put him in charge of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. Naomi’s sons died, but God paid her debt and gave her a grandson, through her daughter-in-law Ruth and Ruth’s new husband, Boaz.
David recovered his family whom the Amalekites had kidnapped, and went on to rule all of Israel. Even in the most important theme in the Bible, God’s restoration of creation, the state of things in the last two chapters of Revelation is better than the first 2 chapters of Genesis. At the end of time, God dwells with us, not just visits us in the cool of the evening. Also, while we were created a little lower than the angels, we are redeemed and made new creations in Jesus. God taught me his grace of restoration through a very unlikely source.
When I first went to homesteading here in Tennessee, I had a dairy goat, Jelly bean, who had not kidded yet and a Jersey cow, Blessings, who had calved with a previous owner, and already had milk. Hand milking a Jersey can be very tiring because Blessings would give a gallon and a half each milking. I would sit and milk on one side of her and my oldest son, Shine, would milk on the other side. Shine often complained of my Tiffany setting engagement ring scratching his hands while we milked, so I got into the habit of removing my wedding and engagement ring during milking.
Jelly Bean was always a curious goat. One morning, she was particularly annoying, coming up in my face while I milked to see what was going on. Unless we were making cheese with the morning’s milk, we always hurried to get the milk inside and strained so it could cool as soon as possible in the fridge. After the milk was safely cooling, I went to replace my rings and noticed my wedding band was missing! I retraced my steps to the barn and got my children to help me look, but I could not find my ring. Shine had a metal detector and got it for the search. After checking the barn and path, he decided to check Jelly bean. Sure enough, she had something metal in her! So we pinned her in the barn and waited for nature to take its course. After two days, she was metal free, but we still could not find my ring. We prayed about it and I told the boys not to worry, we would probably find it when we mucked out the barn that Fall.
Well, Fall came, the barn was cleaned and that black gold was placed upon our garden so everything would be ready for planting the next Spring, but there was no sight of the ring. I did not panic. I fully expected to find my ring gracing a stock of corn or a tomato plant the next year; however, by the following October, still no ring. I prayed and asked God what was going on – he always answered my prayers. That night, I dreamt I was looking at my hands and I saw golden rings with diamonds on each finger – even the thumbs! In the dream I asked, “Father, what is this?”
He replied, “Daughter, didn’t I tell you, I would restore all things to you?” Then I awoke.
At Thanksgiving, we traveled home to visit my family. This trip included a visit to my Aunt Irene’s home. Imagine my surprise when she gleefully handed me a ring box. In it was her engagement ring from my late uncle. It was a Tiffany band with 14 diamonds on it. She explained to me she had had a dream in which God told her to give her ring to me. After I told her my hungry goat story, we compared dates and found she had her dream from God telling her to give me the ring the same night I had my dream of God telling me he would restore all things to me.
Aunt Irene went to heaven last year, just a few months after my Momma. When I find myself in a difficult situation or when I feel alone, I just look at my ring and remember Aunt Irene and how much God loves me to restore something a silly nanny goat ate.
Is there something God has done for you friend? I encourage you to record it in such a way that you can quickly remember it when life’s circumstances overwhelm you. I believe this is what King David meant when he wrote,
Bless the Lord Oh my soul and forget not all of his benefits.