Monday, March 02, 2009
Current Study: A to Z
Today’s Topic: Grappling with Giants
I met an inspirational family yesterday. They visited our church for the very first time. I first saw them after they had already carried their son into the church in his specially designed wheel chair. It reminded me again of the URGENT need we have to get out of the building we are in and into a ministry center that is fully accessible to all people seeking to connect to God. It renewed my passion to pray for God’s resources to pour in on us and for our current building to sell. But that’s not what inspired me about this family.
I only know a short version of the story as told to me by their friends who invited them to church. When he was 22 months old, their son had a heart attack from a birth defect, and he nearly died. His brain was starved for oxygen and has been permanently damaged. He will never grow intellectually. He has almost no physical function. He will never run and play like other boys. He will never reach out and initiate a hug with his parents. He will never really know anything about love or relationship with others. Yet to watch these parents was inspirational. He is their son, and they love him unconditionally. And now they are searching for a place to connect with others who through faith understand that God is in control and can help them face their difficulties head on and come out shining with His glory.
What inspired me most about them was their attitudes. They were not pouting in self-pity. They were not cowering in the corner of fear and doubt. They were being courageous. They were facing this giant of a problem head on. Yet in the few moments I spent with them it was obvious that they were searching for spiritual meaning to it all. They needed hope that surpassed their abilities. They knew there was still something missing in their lives, and their previous spiritual backgrounds had not offered them any real answers. They were looking for the truth that would help them conquer their giants. That truth is found only by faith in Jesus Christ and in the absolute control of God to bring about His good and His glory for those who love Him.
Giants are constantly stepping out of the ranks of life and challenging us. They appear at the most inopportune times. They come from the most unsuspecting places. It’s a fact of life that nothing stays the same for very long. It’s also true that life moves in the direction of disaster and destruction, and unless we look at life with spiritual eyes we will only see giants to big to overcome. That’s what the nation of Israel saw when they saw Goliath. This giant of a man stepped out of the ranks of ordinary army life and challenged the Israelite army. Their first and biggest mistake was to let the giant set the rules for combat. They let the giant control them. They were scared when they should have been strategizing for success. For forty days they would go out and line up to fight only to fall back in fearful retreat at the sight of the giant. They knew what they wanted to do, but they gave the giant permission to stand in their way. Giants do that to us all the time.
Then one day a young man named David comes to the battle front. He has experience with giants. He has faith in God that conquers the fear of giants. He has fought hand-to-hand combat with bears and lions and been victorious. He wonders how one man can stand in the way of God’s army. He lays aside all of man’s armor that had been given to him, and he steps out with nothing but a sling and five smooth stones. Nothing, that is, but his faith in his great and mighty God. When the giant stands over him and verbally reduces him to nothing, David responds with the words of faith, not fear. He says, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD Almighty—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” Goliath moves forward. David runs to meet him. He slings a stone and slays the giant. There is no giant that can stand in defiance of God. They will all fall just as Goliath did.
We all have giants in our lives. They may not look like giants to others, but they are to us. Every giant is a test. You have two possible responses – fear or faith. You’re going to battle some violent opposition; you might be tempted to retreat. But keep in mind, God is with you. You’ll face overwhelming odds; you’ll be incredibly outnumbered. Fear would be your natural inclination. But keep in mind, God is with you. This fight may not be over in ten minutes or ten weeks; there may be no quick solution. If you think it’s taking too long, keep in mind, God is with you. In the words of Moses who challenged Joshua to lead the people in to the land of giants, “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid of them! The LORD your God will go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6)
The choice of how you respond to the giants in your life is yours. You can let the giant dictate the rules of engagement and hold power over you; or you can stand against the giant and overcome him with the word of the Lord. Grappling with giants doesn’t sound like fun, nor is it easy when done in our own strength. But we never have to fight in our own strength. Don’t let the giant convince you that he is greater than God. Don’t give in to the giant’s demands. Be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God is with you! We are more than conqueror’s through Him – Jesus Christ – who loves us!