I Samuel 17:33(NKJV)
“And Saul said to David, ‘You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.’”
Are you working toward a goal? Do you find it easy to pursue your dreams and desires, or do you feel like every step forward only forces you to slide back to your original starting point? What stands in the way of your progress? Of you seeing your dreams fulfilled?
Or, have you given up all hope of reaching your dreams? Have you gotten comfortable living a life that is nowhere near your best potential?
I recently read the story of David’s epic battle with Goliath (I Sam. 17:1-37). When I taught Sunday school, this was always a favorite lesson with the children. But as I went over this passage of scripture again, it became more than just a lesson to teach children about the protection of God and how we can trust Him when we are faced with dire circumstances.
I think it hit home in a different way for me because I’m facing new health challenges. This current issue seems like a giant to me. It’s everywhere I look, turn, or think. There’s no escaping it because of the pain and limits I’m learning to adjust to. No matter which way I go or what I try to do, I run into the same brick wall, the ”giant,” that seeks to push me back to square one.
What is your giant?
Maybe it’s a difficult or strained relationship. Maybe your spouse or child is an addict. Maybe you haven’t spoken to your parents in several years because of a bitter misunderstanding.
You want to walk in love and forgiveness, but every time you face your family member, old habits, traits, and wounds are exposed; and instead of working toward peace and reconciliation, you fall right back into bickering, hurt feelings, and a stubborn refusal to offer an apology. We let God’s command to live in peace with others fly out the window as we seek our own self preservation (Romans 15:5-6; Colossians 3:12-17).
Is your biggest threat is financial? No matter how many hours you work, or how many times you switch jobs, you never make ends meet. You downsize, drive an economy car, and scrimp and save, any way that you can, but nothing works for you. You come up short each month, and the debt turns into a huge mountain. You can’t go around it, over it, or under it.
Then again, you could have financial security, a strong and healthy body, and great relationships. From the outside, it looks like you live a charmed life. You are the envy of others. But at night, when most of the world is sleeping peacefully, you lie awake in bed, tossing and turning, trying to calm your anxious mind. You live with debilitating fear. Stress eats you from the inside out, and you have no way of finding relief. What are you to do? You can’t speak out because you don’t want anyone to know that your “perfect” life is a sham, built on a foundation of sand that could blow away at any moment.
In one way or another, all of us face problems, challenges that seem insurmountable. No matter what it is that we are dealing with, we can find inspiration, in this story of David, and face our trials head-on.
David didn’t let the opinions of the other soldiers and his older brother discourage him. He refused Saul’s armor and didn’t let “tradition” arm him for the battle. He didn’t buy into the fear of those around him, and he certainly didn’t listen to Goliath’s voice.
David encouraged himself and those around him by remembering how God had helped him through previous problems; He knew that God remained the same. David didn’t trust in his own strength, power, or wisdom for the battle; he looked to God. He knew that if he depended on God, God would help him. He fought in the name of the Lord, to bring glory to God.
Will we do the same? Even if we lack courage and feel weak, God will help us take one step at a time. And, before we know it, God will help us gain the victory.
This is a reality everyday in my life. Some mornings I want to pull the covers up over my head. I think I can’t roll over, let alone get up, but as soon as I cry out to God and put my focus on Him, I am able to calm my thoughts, breathe, do a mild stretch or two, and before I know it, I’m out of the bed and beginning my day.
Yes, there are days that are slower than others, days when I manage to do very little; but there are plenty of days when I accomplish more than I thought possible. It happens one task at a time. I may be able to do laundry and small chores around the house; sit long enough to complete an article; or go out for a quick bite to eat with my husband. Then, when I get ready to go to sleep and think over my day, I’m surprised at the things that I did. I’m amazed at how God strengthened me to make it through the day and do things that I felt were impossible just that very same morning.
When I have days like this, I keep track of them. This helps me when I run into other difficult days. I look back and recall how God gave me the strength and energy to shop or clean the house or write or help my family with things. Then, I find myself feeling encouraged, knowing that God will help me through this next challenging day as well.
I pray that you will learn to encourage yourself in the Lord. Find a way to remember how God helped you in the past, and review it whenever you find yourself facing a new challenge.
Never give up, because with God there is always hope.