All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1st Samuel 17:47 NIV)
“Ladies and Gentlemen…. ARE YOU READY TO RUUUMMMBBLLEEE?!?!?!” Yes, my friends. It is time! It is time to take down the Giants once and for all. While the Giants for each of us might be different, God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I should warn you that this journey of faith is not for the faint of heart. You will have to be BOLD and DEFIANT against the “norm” and you will have BELIEVE before you will ACHIEVE. Today, more than ever before, the battles rage all around us, so let’s come out swinging the sword that God gives us starting right out of the gates:
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37 NIV)
I simply cannot believe the series of events that have transpired over the past few months, both personally for me and internationally for the world! I originally wrote this post when March Madness was just getting ready to ramp up. There isn’t a better time to talk about unexpected Champions than that, right? I was going to talk about the moments when we meticulously put together our brackets EVERY YEAR. There always ends up an upset from a “David vs. Goliath” team. Ironically, that is where we are RIGHT NOW in our world! Now that March Madness, and everything else in our mainstream culture, has been canceled thanks to Covid-19, the definition of “David vs. Goliath” has also shifted!
MORE THAN CONQUERORS THROUGH HIM. Just that phrase is enough to chew on. Do I believe it? What was it that made David so confident to face Goliath when the ENTIRE Israelite nation, the King, and grown warriors alike, shook with fear at Goliath’s taunts? What is it every March that gives the less equipped teams the Boldness to face the Basketball Giants with a glimmer of hope of winning against all odds? It seems to me that both David and our Cinderella teams start with one thing in common – Belief.
You see, I am writing this when Belief is what God is pushing me to embrace, and it seems that HOPE is what our world needs. For those who have been on this journey, you know how many obstacles there were in 2019. Now, in 2020 the obstacles from last year seem like child’s play. Let’s recap the past couple of months alone: my stove blew up (literally out of the back panel), my tire got another nail in it (tire number 6 in 2 years), my kitchen flooded when a pipe burst (the second flood in 20 months), my water heater died, I got sued and sent to court (and lost), there is a person checking on a possible leak on my roof as I write, I got Influenza A, Maddox got strep throat, and The Coronavirus changed the way we ALL live in an instant! Welcome to life in 2020! It is here that I face my biggest 2 Giants simultaneously, Self-Pity and Doubt. It is here where my faith is being pushed to either make the rubber meet the road, or give up all together. This is my deciding factor, my no-holds-bar, my trust-or-don’t moment. This is it for me, my friends! I wonder if YOU might be there too?
My questions began immediately, which brought me to 1st Samuel 17: 3. In verse 3 the phrase “the valley between” popped out and slapped me across the face. It was here that I realized that in every challenge there is a valley between where we are and what God has prepared for us. There is a valley between my faith and God’s Faithfulness that never ceases. You see, like a toddler learning to walk and then a youngster learning to ride a bike and a teenager learning to drive the car, there is a gap to fill with perspective, persistence, and purpose. Once I realized that, then I was able get to work facing the gap and continue to take the steps needed to cover the ground between where I was and where God, ultimately, wants me to be. Every day since has been a battle-stepping journey.
The thing is that even though I know that the gap exists, and even though I take steps to close it, there is always a voice taunting the loudest in the valley between. Goliath “stood and shouted” across the valley, “Choose a man and have him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” (1 Samuel 17:8-9 NIV, emphasis mine)
This shout of the Giant created 2 responses. One response was to “come down” to a lower perspective that had the Israelites running away in terror, refusing to face the Giant altogether. My inner Israelite makes me want to cower and question God’s Goodness, or my own capabilities. It sounds like: “Do I believe that God is Good, even when things aren’t matching my own expectations? Do I trust in God’s plan and God’s timing? I know He has moved mountains for me in the past, but for some reason I am afraid. I mean I cannot, on my own, do anything to take down these giants in front of me. Why would God help me?” It is when this rhetoric starts that I know that I am “coming down” to the lies of the enemy. When I entertain these thoughts, I am listening to the Goliath that I see in front of me instead of trusting the God that has my back, always has, and always will.
It was in the valley that the voice was the loudest, because Goliath really knew that when they actually faced off, then HE WAS GOING DOWN! David knew that the warrior that would win the battle was the one who realized that the fight actually belonged to the Lord. David knew that his own strengths and talents could be used BY THE LORD to do immeasurably more than what he could do on his own. While the rest of the Israelite army was shrinking back in fear, David walked in as a confident, God-Filled, still imperfect teenager, who saw Goliath as nothing more than another bear or lion for God to help him CONQUER.
Even with his own faith in God, David had to overcome opposition of doubt in his own camp. His brother doesn’t want him to speak up and the King wants David to wear his armor. David could have easily given into the distraction of fighting his brother, or the discouragement to be something that he was not with the King. But he didn’t do either. David stood firm in who he was and WHOSE he was. When the voices of distraction and discouragement are loudest, it is there that we need to go back to what we know. For David, it was remembering how God showed up in the past and telling others about it. David said:
“The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” (1st Samuel 17:37 NIV; emphasis mine)
For me, the key to taking down my own giants is remembering every challenge from the previous years that I thought I would never be able to survive. I need to recount the miraculous ways that God provided Grace, Mercy, Provision, and Power around me. There was NEVER a time that God did not provide, however, there was a time when I could not see it. There was a time when I was so focused on the challenging taunts and lying voices that I given up before God showed up. But, God is patient and kind, and He always waits.
Now, I’m staring at the amount of “stuff” in front of me, as well as this moment in history in which I have zero control. I’m having to make an intentional decision as to which voice I will hear. Will I look back on the past few years, and the past few months of Covid-19, and only see the challenges? Or, will I be BOLD enough to SING ABOUT PAST VICTORIES BEFORE current victories are completed like David did?
I can’t help but think about how many voices people are hearing right now! There are people who have the voices of their circumstances telling them how impossible it is to overcome lost jobs, homeschooling, and health issues, just to name a few. The media frenzy and fear based responses of well meaning family and friends is also hard to ignore. It’s hard to know where hope is with experts all around us feeding us death tolls and scary facts about the pandemic, only telling us what we “should” or “shouldn’t do” (most of which contradicts each other). It makes me wonder, do we have a focus on the recovery rate as well? Are we celebrating the different ways that people are helping and supporting each other? Are we encouraging each other with the many successes that each of us do on a daily basis? Where is the “Good News” media? Like David, we have to quiet the chatter if we want a chance to slay our own giants.
Once we quiet the chatter, then it’s time to jump into action! You will have to be willing to pick up your stones and do your part. You will have to stand firm in who God made you to be against all odds and wield the skill sets that He has given you. You will actually have to come face-to-face with your own Giants, one-by-one, and take them down.
What some people didn’t realize about David vs. Goliath is that David was actually so much more capable of winning than Goliath. When he chose his stones, David was going to battle as the slinger that God made him to be. He was small, strong, agile, and a sharp-shooter. Goliath was bulky, slow, and couldn’t see well. David knew that God had made him for such a time as this, and if he simply used what God gave him, that Goliath would go down! So, here was a little teenager facing off with a giant with BOLD FAITH and SWIFT ACTION. Despite the Giant’s threats to feed David to the birds and wild animals, David moves forward with the best comeback line that I have ever heard in when he says:
- “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. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.” (1 Samuel 17:45-46 NIV; emphasis mine)
And that he did. David, this unsuspecting hero, faced Goliath head-on, slung his stones, used his skills as a slinger, killed the Giant, and just to add an exclamation point on it, he cut the giant’s head off with the enemy’s own sword! With one act of Bold Obedience, David had sent the Philistine army running in fear, and the once retreating Israelites were now inspired to fight again!
Just like King David, we ALL face our own Giants! Look at life now, Giants loom around every corner, even Giants we can’t see, feel, or control. We have Giants of isolation, loss of perceived control, Giants of impatience and pride, as well as depression, anxiety, and apathy to contend with. Add in finances and an unknown end to Covid-19 and social distancing, and it can be maddening! What’s more is the fact that we often find bigger Giants to fight after our newest victories are celebrated. One Giant is replaced with another. There are so many Giants.
So what do we do? Do we give up hope and give in to Giants which threaten us and try to intimidate us into a lesser version of life than what God has for us? NO WAY!! WE STAND FIRM! We run towards the Giants, not away from them. With each Giant, we remember that the keys to our own personal Victory is to do what David did and throw our own stones! We:
Step towards the Giant
Look across the Gap for God’s Perspective
Ignore ANYTHING meant to distract or discourage you
Name God as the Victor and name the victory in the Lord’s name
Go in slinging the skillset stones that God has given you
Yes, my friends! WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS! We were made to win with God by our sides. We have the keys to kill the Giants that try to intimidate us from being all that God has called us to be, whether it be self-pity, doubt, or something entirely different. God reminds us that:
- What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32 NIV)
Now, I have no answers to Covid-19, nor do I know your personal battles. What I do know is that we all have the ability to have the Boldness to slam dunk over the Giants in Jesus’s Name! For me, I claim a renewed house, health, and hope. I stand firm in who God made me to be, as the Daughter of the King, and step forward to use what God gave me to impact those around me. What skill set will you use? What is God calling your inner warrior to face? Whatever it is, GO in full faith because no matter what GOD IS WITH YOU and the Battle belongs to HIM!
Fight on mighty warriors! May the Lord our God go before you always!
Amen and Hallelujah!