I have always been intrigued by the phrase that’s been circulating for twenty years or so when describing the nagging and annoying presence of negative voices in life. Some say that we should avoid “renting space in our heads” to such folk.
There is so much wisdom in that.
The truth is that there are areas in all of us, deep recesses as it were, that hid the hidden feelings of inadequacy and shame and even guilt. Perhaps it is a good idea to start thinking of these deep personal challenges as “giants.” People who know me know all too well that I have been encountering and fighting giants for the best part of my adult life. Only recently have I figured out that the biggest challenge is internal, not external. Good Lord! If I had only figured that out twenty years ago!
Who among us doesn’t remember our first hearing about the momentous encounter of David and Goliath? No doubt, this famous unequal fight and unsuspected victory of young David has taken all kinds of different nuances and meanings as we have lived the years we have been given: “You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted. Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand.” And with one swift and precisely aimed shot, the outmuscled, overpowered and seemingly least likely winner in the fight won a sound victory. The Lord was with David that day. And the Lord was with the disfigured and probably foredoomed man in the Gospel: “Jesus said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was restored.”
I believe that the image of facing the Goliaths of our lives comes at every age for very different reasons. Furthermore, quality of those encounters directly determines and impacts the quality of our lives not only at that moment, but all other moments that follow. If we ran from one fight, we are probably still running!
There is something very real and applicable here today for you and me: our giants are everywhere, seemingly. These may be insurmountable problems and unexpected issues. This could be fear, or anxiety or some other great and personal vexing struggle. What can we learn today from David in 1 Samuel 17 and the Lord Jesus? First, let us admit that we all have giants: hardships, seemingly unbeatable obstacles, problems, and temptations. Then, let us realize that the battle belongs to the Lord as David bravely told Goliath, “For the battle is the LORD’s and he shall deliver you into our hands.” And finally, we cannot, nor should not, run from our giants or even attempt to negotiate with an enemy that seeks only to destroy us if not defeated. David faced Goliath, and as the enemy got close, David ran towards him: “The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters, while David ran quickly toward the battle line in the direction of the Philistine.”
I remember what Winston Churchill once said in the darkest days of Britain: “You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth.” The lesson from this is undeniable. We must know our giants and know ourselves. To be unrealistic with either element spells certain disaster.
This is precisely why the Sabbath is given to us to renew and resurrect our trust in the Lord for His power and strength to meet our Goliaths as Jesus reminded the Pharisees in the Gospel today: “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Our readers will most likely be surprised to learn that many of the Goliaths in our lives are within us. They are those things which we fear, stress, and panic about, most things, as Mark Twain so brilliantly pointed out, never happen. If this is true, and I believe it is, let me wish you all courage. Let me wish you joy in the battle and on the battlefield with those you love and with those who love us. We are all staring at the giants in front of us. But we are also holding on tight to our veritable stones of God’s promise. And with that we pray every day for good aim.
“I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of all.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for,
but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all people, most richly blessed.”
(Paper with poem found on the body of an unknown soldier in the 19th Century)Share your thoughts (16 thoughts)