Goliath - 01

Lesser lions, smaller giants

Goliath - 01

One of my favorite stories is the story of David facing the giant Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. The ancient nation of Israel is on one mountain facing the Philistine army with a valley in between. The Philistine champion Goliath the giant is taunting the Israelites: send out your champion so I can kill him because your God is a joke.

The only one willing to go is the shepherd boy David, the anointed future king of Israel. On one side is this giant Goliath, standing over 9 feet tall. Nine feet! Not only that, he is covered in armor and has a spearhead weighing over 20 pounds. On the other side is David, this teenage rookie of all rookies, maybe 5 foot-five at a good guess. No one gives him a chance. He’s never fought in a war, never been a soldier. Who does this punk think he is?

Scripture says David ran, ran to the battle line. No sign of fear, no hint of second thoughts. Using a strap of leather and a chunk of river rock, David blew out Goliath’s brains and chopped off his head. Can you imagine the shock on both sides?

Do you know why it was easy for David to face Goliath? Because David had already faced a lion before.

David spent a lot of time out in the wilderness protecting his father’s sheep. If a lion or bear attacked the flock, David didn’t just leave well enough alone. He went after both a lion and a bear and killed them for attacking his sheep.

The big payoff is when David credited God for rescuing him from the bear and the lion. It wasn’t just luck or his superior skill; it was God rescuing David by giving him the courage, skills, and opportunity to fight back.

Sometimes God puts struggles and obstacles in our path to better prepare us for even bigger challenges ahead. A good loving Father wants His children to be ready for whatever they face, even if it’s so far beyond our ability to cope.

It’s much easier to face the giants in life when we’ve already seen God help us overcome our fears. Giants stand shorter when we’ve fought off lesser lions.

No matter what giant is looming in your life today, whether it’s a recent job loss, broken relationships, or a medical threat, I can promise you that God has given you the tools and courage to face your giant today. Whatever giant you’re facing today, there’s a good chance God allowed you to face some lesser lions to prepare you for this moment.

Trust your Father in heaven and run towards your giant with courage from the lions you’ve faced.

I used to be perfect…

…and then I got married.

Our wedding

Okay, so I didn’t think I was perfect, but I thought I had my life together. Caring for others? Check. Good listener? Absolu- sorry, what was the question? Flexible, understanding, patient, and kind? I had all of that and I had arrived.

Pardon me while I double over laughing at my old perspective.

If anything, marriage has taught me how many things I still need God to transform in my life. Many of the things I thought I’d mastered weren’t fully realized until I got married. I’ve found a depth of listening I didn’t know before. My perspective is different now than three years ago. My heart now sees how much my life needs constant renovation because of the incredible woman I married.

It’s not because Kara completes me, because she doesn’t; only God can complete me. God uses others in our lives though, like our spouses, to show us where He wants to transform us.

You don’t have to be married for God to open your perspective. Some of the most eye-opening moments in my life happen when a close friend, roommate, Kara, or co-worker has the guts to tell me tough truths. It doesn’t matter whether I agree with it or not, my perspective doesn’t change the truth.

God puts people in our lives to open our perspective. Other people reveal the plateaus in our Gospel transformation and push us towards either dynamic Gospel change or into full-blown indifference. We don’t have the luxury of ignorance when we live in close community.

When we ignore the honest words of a friend or spouse, we fabricate our own version of reality. God didn’t create us to live ignorant lives. We need the courage to listen and learn from other perspectives. If we listen to the voices God’s put in our lives, we will better understand our need for Gospel transformation.

Until then, we’re stuck with being perfect.