My youngest son, B, is a huge football fan. B has always been fascinated by linemen. He likes to watch the guards and tackles pull and block…opening up holes for the running backs or protecting the quarterback. He likes to think about these massive men as protectors. Men that provide obstacles to the defense and keep the offense clicking smoothly.
Unfortunately, we don’t always have guards and tackles in our daily lives- instead we feel like we are being blocked and pushed around. We are all burdened by obstacles. Whether it is a real, physical challenge or something that’s in our head…and only we know about it. These challenges are real for all of us.
It was a scary situation. A rough group of Philistines had settled in across from the Israelite camp for a battle. A nine-foot mountain of a man, Goliath, had come out and challenged God’s people to a fight. For forty days straight Goliath had taunted and insulted the Israelite army and nation- and every soldier was terrified to take Goliath on in combat. It took a young shepherd boy…David…to answer the challenge. David was insulted by Goliath’s taunts and threats. He volunteered for the challenge wearing no armor, and protected by only his shepherd’s staff, a sling and some stones.
We know the outcome. David, acting on faith, defeated Goliath with one accurate fling of a stone. One swing of the arm felled an armored, angry giant.
It’s not that easy for us, is it? Work, relationships at home, physical or financial stress and other daily concerns can create giant obstacles for all of us. And the giants seem to move around. Once one Goliath is addressed, another (perhaps bigger) giant appears in our path.
We have been given guidance on dealing with our giants. Let’s consider Paul, our great missionary from the first century church:
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest in me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. II Corinthians 12: 7-10
Paul had a physical obstacle that he fought every day. Paul also had to live with a horrible past- a past that included the physical torment of Christians. But Paul found power in his challenges. Christ’s power was “made perfect through weakness” in Paul’s life. Weakness became a source of strength. We have that same promise today.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1: 2-4
Giants create incredible stress, but we have been called to look at trials as opportunities to refine our faith. We can re-focus and call upon God for strength to handle the challenge, and try to look past the battle for the lesson it can teach us.
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17: 20
May we all seek the ultimate source of power when dealing with the giants in our lives.