Winterville United Methodist Church

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

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October 24, 2016 “Not for the Faint of Heart”

On the church lawn for the day was a herd of goats, the petting zoo attraction for the children.  As it turns out, there was more interest in the goats from the adults in attendance than from the children.  Why—because part of the reputation of the herd was that it had a few “fainting goats” among its members!

            I had heard about the phenomenon of fainting goats, but I was never quite sure if they really existed or if they were simply an urban legend, and, if actually in existence, I was curious under what conditions a goat “faints.”

            Wikipedia has an apparent answer.  Some goats experience “fainting” when startled or alarmed.  (Apparently the adults who participated in loud noises, cap flapping, and stamping at the goats in the desire to see firsthand a fainting episode were on the right track!)  The goats do not actually faint in the sense of losing consciousness.  Rather their muscles stiffen and tighten to the point that they do sometimes fall down.  It is a condition labeled myotonia congenita.  As goats get older they learn to deal with the situation by managing to lean against something—another goat or a fence—so that the stiffening does not result in falling down—an excellent coping mechanism in my opinion!

            In our world we hear the adage, “Aging is not for the faint of heart!”  We could apply that to all of us, for we day-by-day are all aging.  And day by day we have experiences in our lives that challenge us, that cause us to wonder how we will cope or make it through the difficult time. Our fear is that we will “fall” and never be able to recover from the difficulty.

            Our God is there for us—the faint of heart!  And as we learn to call upon and to lean upon him we may struggle and we may lament our difficulties, but we will never fall, unable to rise again!       

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