If you grew up going to Sunday School, you know the story of David and Goliath. If you didn’t; the story summary is thus.
In a battle between warring factions, one side had recruited a Giant. Each morning this massive warrior would lumber to the front lines, taunting the other side with jeers and accusations of cowardice.
Warrior after warrior would step up to answer the challenge, only to be quickly killed by the giant. After a time, no soldier wanted volunteer to answer the challenge, fearing that the giant was unbeatable. This unanswered challenge, allowed the giant’s army to advance.
The king, for the other side, mortified to hear that his warriors were afraid to step up to this challenge, sent his generals throughout the camp to find a brave warrior.
Meanwhile, David, youngest in his family, a shepherd by default (he was too young to join the army) had gone to the battlefield to bring provisions for his older brothers. He heard the giant’s taunts and the answering silence. He couldnt believe his countrymen were afraid. He challenged his brothers to take up the call.
“He may be a giant, but he is still just a man”.
While he conversed with his brothers, a frustrated general strode in to the tent.
“Is there no man brave enough to face this giant?”
David looked at his brothers, who had lowered their heads to stair at the sparse patch of grass beneath their feet. The tent resounded with uneasy silence.
“I’ll do it!”
The general heard the confident words, spinning to the sound of such a brave warrior. He then saw the teenage shepherd and realized the proclamation came from his mouth. The general choked down a raucous laugh while David’s brothers looked up in dismay.
“You are just a child. What do you know”? The general scoffed.
“Who else do you have”? David challenged.
So, as no one else stepped up to face the giant, the general allowed David to try.
The Giant roared in disdain at the sight of the boy in front of him, filling the air with curses and taunts. The soldiers on the giant’s side also laughed loudly.
Yet David was not afraid. With confidence and a true purpose, he placed a river stone into his sling….twirled it to build the momentum and let loose towards the giant, who continued to bellow with laughter. The stone, caught the warrior in the forehead, between his eyes, felling him to the ground. David then ran upon him, took his sword and separated head from shoulders.
The giant was vanquished.
By an unlikely hero.
So…with that abbreviated version of a Bible story, there are many take aways.
For those of us who are believers, we take the literal meaning that with God on your side, even a small boy can defeat a mighty enemy.
But, there are other take-aways for us in this tale.
Many of us have faced and may even be currently facing giants right now. We find ourselves caught in circumstances that seem insurmountable.
Do you sometimes feel you are backed into a corner by a problem with no foreseeable solution? Are you facing a challenge that seems bigger than you are?
When you think about that giant in front of you, do you just want to run? I know I sometimes do. Even now, after so many years as a social worker, I run into situations and even people that are blocking my way. At first glance, the situation may appear unconquerable. And, I will admit, I sometimes allow myself to feel defeated. I have even thought of giving up. But I dont.
I realize that instead of facing the giant, I am allowing fear and uncertainty to drive my confidence into the ground. I have heard the struggles of others in the same situation. Self doubt whispers softly in my ear…
“They couldnt do it. What makes you think you are any better?”
I’m not any better. David was no better a warrior than any other older, more experienced soldier in the field. So how did he vanquish a giant?
1. He had conviction.
David believed in his purpose. He decided that despite the adversity, what he was doing was his calling. For those of us who choose every day to work in the service of others, the decision was not made on the basis of wealth, political power or world gratitude. Which is a good thing, because none of those things exist in the world of a social worker. We chose this career, knowing the journey was difficult and sometimes treacherous, because we had purpose. On those times when everything crashes in on me, I go back to my purpose and refocus my vision so that I can brush myself off and continue.
2. He came prepared.
David didnt know he would be facing a warrior giant as he walked to his brother’s camp. But before he arrived, he stopped by a river bed and chose 5 shiny river rocks, placing them in his pouch. Because he did know that in traveling alone to the battlefield, he could encounter some wild animal blocking his path. It was likely to happen at some point. It was better to be prepared.
As it relates to us, knowing that the journey is difficult, how do we prepare for when the giants come to block our way?
I give myself a talk every morning. I remind myself of my purpose and alert myself that I may face difficulties. Being aware helps me to be prepared.
I have written down why I keep walking this path, and I read the list on nights when I feel defeated.
I remember what I have in my life that is good, and give thanks for it.
I allow myself, if the above doesnt work, one night of wound licking, but with the expectation that I renew my strength the next morning.
How do you prepare?
3. He was confident in his aim.
David used a weapon he was very familiar with: the long sling. As a Shepard he had to defend his flock against lions and other wild creatures. He had perfected his technique and his aim and defeated these wild animals.
As we walk the path of service to others, we perfect our weapons as well. We learn from both our successes and from our mistakes. By working through small issues, our skills are perfected, allowing us to handle bigger giants.
Be confident in yourself and your abilities. You know what needs to be done. Even when the giant is larger than you have ever seen, you have the skills to be successful…you just need to remember that and believe in yourself.
You WILL face a giant: Today, tomorrow, next week or next year.
Remember your Purpose
Believe in Yourself
And you, too, can Take on the Giant…