When we were in the process of buying our last home, I stood with the realtor and my (then) husband on the back deck gazing out at the magnificence of the fields and woods all around us. It was a pastoral scene, utterly peaceful.

Until I looked down and saw one of the biggest, fattest, blackest, leggiest spiders I have ever seen. Jumping to the side, out of the corner of my eye I saw something else move. It was another gross spider. Looking a little closer at the deck, I was horrified to see that the two creatures had a big family.

Now, you have to understand how I feel about spiders. I was the child at the cottage who used to make my mother sweep out the entire outhouse and clean around the underside of the plywood-sided hole before I would tentatively enter, afraid that some creepy crawler would suddenly appear from under a two by four. Then, I would make her or my sister wait outside the door until I was finished, all the time calling, “Are you still there? Are you still there?”

I loved the house my husband and I were about to buy, but how could I possibly relax in a place infested with huge spiders? When I got home that day, I remembered the scripture about man being given dominion over all the animals and determined to put my position to the test.

I prayed, “Lord, you know I can’t live in a place with all those enormous spiders. I just can’t do it, so I’m taking you at your word that they have to come under my authority.”

Then, I pictured that deck in my mind and spoke to the spiders. I can’t remember whether I spoke out loud or just in my mind. I said, “Spiders at our new house, I command you to crawl away from the house, go out into the fields at the back and never return.”

You’re probably thinking, “She’s not really going to say they left, chuckle chuckle.” But that’s exactly what I’m going to say! I never saw another of those spiders in the 26 years we lived in that house. Sure, there were spiders here and there—but never a ginormous fat black one.

I suppose it would have been possible to think that was just a fluke—until the day my neighbour’s bull and twenty-seven cows broke some fences and wandered onto my front lawn. I had just planted some new little shrubs and made new flower gardens.

Now, you have to understand how I feel about bulls. I was the child at my uncle’s farm who quaked in fright every day that I had to walk past a fenced field where a bull lived on my way to school. I would never, ever consider wearing red, knowing that that old bull would come snorting after me for sure!

So here we were—this humungous bull and his twenty-seven wives having lunch on my newly planted lawn—and me, home alone. I did everything I could to scare them away (without venturing further than my porch). I yelled at them, threatened what I was going to do if they didn’t get out of there, banged pots, even took one of my son’s drums out and beat on it as loudly as I could.

That old bull looked up, stared me straight in the eye, continued to chew his cud and telepathically thanked me for the dinner entertainment.

Now I was getting mad. Flowers weren’t cheap and it hadn’t been easy planting those shrubs.

Then I remembered the spiders. I stared back at the bull, pointed towards the broken down fences and said, “In the Name of Jesus, I command you to turn around and march right back over those fences you broke and go back to your own fields. And take the girls with you!”

You’re probably thinking, “She’s not really going to say they left, chuckle chuckle.” But that’s exactly what I’m going to say!

That big old bull looked up at me one last time. He looked at me for a couple of minutes without moving. I wondered what he was going to do. A fleeting thought crossed my mind. Was I wearing anything red?

But then, almost disdainfully, the bull turned away from me and began to amble off towards the broken fences. Kicking the white planks as he lifted his clumsy hoofs over the wreckage, he shook his head. The girls all turned from their lunch and began their retreat behind him.

Coincidence? Perhaps. Or was it by design?

It makes one wonder what is really available to us if we were to believe God and take Him at His word!