Saturday, February 1, 2014

Facing a giant...

Today, David and the giant have been on my mind. 

We all know the story. It is a nursery favorite and is alluded to throughout literature and conversation on a regular basis. Even during football season, we often hear of a "David vs. Goliath" confrontations. We know the story...but have we ever put ourselves into David's shoes....I mean sandals?

Stop for a moment and imagine, not the moments when David is in the field watching sheep, ignored by those with "important" jobs, but the moment he stands looking at that giant. Imagine not the moments he'd spent being the "little brother" of warriors, but when he steps out of the crowd and makes those first steps. Not the moments when he stands before the king rejecting the armor that doesn't fit, but the moment when he feels the breeze blowing against his bare arms and legs, perhaps carrying the stench of that giant he is about to face. Not the moment when he said, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied" but the moment he first stood on that battle field.

It is this moment that is on my mind today. The moment after David has said yes to the battle. The moment after he dared tell his brothers that someone needed to face the enemy. The moment after he has talked with his leader and said, "Yes, I will take on the job." This moment....when he stands looking at the sheer size of the giant and he swallows. Does he think, as I often find myself doing, "What was I thinking?" Does he even mutter under his breath, "Dear Lord, what have I gotten myself into?!?!"

Ever feel that way? You have said yes to a job that is far bigger than you thought it was. You have taken on a responsibility that you know God led you to, but now you look at it and wonder if maybe there's still time to change your mind. (Of course you can't - God led you here and you know it's right...but still you wonder!) You see the unbelievably immense size of the task that lies before you and you think, I'm gonna die...maybe not physically, but career-wise, socially, or at least find my reputation wounded beyond repair. 

So why in the face of all this does the thought come, "that's right where God wants you...."
I know that I've been in "this place" so many times. In WAY over my head - in my job, in my parenting, in my marriage, in my fiances, in my life. I've found myself standing there, facing a giant and thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?????" I am at a loss. I really don't have a clue how to do this, how to fix it, how to kill the giant that threatens to destroy me. What was I thinking?!?!

I wonder if David felt this way; if he wanted to turn and run. We always think of him as so filled with courage that he didn't hesitate, but did he? Did he for a moment wish the ground would swallow him up? Did he wish that God would somehow make the problem just go away? I know I would have....I HAVE.

I think our young hero did feel those things, at least a little. But instead of running, he stood there and reminded himself of all the times before when God was faithful...the lion, the bear, and now - the giant. 

I don't know what "giant" you face today. Maybe it's something that would seem small to others, but to you it towers like Goliath, breathing its intimidating breath in your direction...laughing...mocking...waiting for you to give up. Be like David. Remind yourself of the lion and the bear. (Oh my, how huge must Goliath have been to make a lion and a bear seem like practice???) Take a step, knowing that you can't, but God CAN. It's really not all up to you. It's up to Him and He is able. Afraid you might be "embarrassed" if you step out and God doesn't come through? David would have been a great deal more than embarrassed...he'd have been DEAD! Step out anyway. (Just had a funny thought. I wonder if when the stone hit Goliath, were his eyes "opened" so that he could see Jesus standing in front of David, holding that slingshot?)

It's in those Goliath moments that we start to realize, it's really not about us anyway. We recognize that we are NOT able. We know that the giant we face is far greater than any little slingshot we might be holding. We have a God or run. Run and the giant laughs at you. Trust God and watch the giant crumble.

I don't pretend to have this down pat. I have faced giants many times, shaking in my tennis shoes and wondering if God would come through this time. I'm facing a couple of them right now! I have to continually remind myself of the dead lions and tigers and bears - oh my! And I look at my giants again to find that they're not so huge after all. In fact, they seem to be shrinking. Could it be because finally I stopped looking at the giant compared to myself and started looking at it compared to my God?

How big is your giant? Does it matter? Our God is bigger still.

Take a deep breath, focus on the faithfulness of God, and watch Goliath fall.

1 Samuel 17 - David and Goliath (Message version)

2 Chronicles 20:14-17 (MSG) (Emphasis mine)

14-17 Then Jahaziel was moved by the Spirit of God to speak from the midst of the congregation. (Jahaziel was the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah the Levite of the Asaph clan.) He said, “Attention everyone—all of you from out of town, all you from Jerusalem, and you King Jehoshaphat—God’s word: Don’t be afraid; don’t pay any mind to this vandal horde. This is God’s war, not yours. Tomorrow you’ll go after them; see, they’re already on their way up the slopes of Ziz; you’ll meet them at the end of the ravine near the wilderness of Jeruel. You won’t have to lift a hand in this battle; just stand firm, Judah and Jerusalem, and watch God’s saving work for you take shape. Don’t be afraid, don’t waver. March out boldly tomorrow—God is with you.”

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