March 12, 2008

Facing Your Giant

2008 1507 page31 capne of my favorite Bible stories is that of David and Goliath. I have fond memories of singing “Only a Boy Named David” as a child in Sabbath school, and acting out the story Friday nights during family worship. Why are children so drawn to this story? It is because of the odds. David battled Goliath, the great Philistine giant—and won, despite the apparently insurmountable odds against him.
As adults we all have giants to face. For some it may be an addiction, suicidal thoughts, or depression. For others it may be despair because of a debilitating illness, or discouragement because of a teenager gone astray. So, what do we do when we feel like we can’t go on, like we don’t want to wake up to face the next day? When we feel all hope is lost?
We face our giant!
The story of David and Goliath gives us four principles to apply when the odds seem so much against us. First, name your giant. In 1 Samuel 17:26, David calls Goliath what he is, a Philistine who is defying God. In our own lives we sometimes have difficulty recognizing or taking responsibility for problems. Some problems we’ve created, some are circumstantial, some were passed on to us. It seems easier to ignore our problems or even blame others for them. It takes more courage to admit we have a problem, possibly with an addiction or uncontrollable anger.
2008 1507 page31It requires much more effort to cover things up and pretend everything is all right. The better way is to name the problem. Look yourself in the mirror and say out loud what it is you have a problem with. Admitting it out loud is the first step to take when facing your giant.
Next, talk back to your giant. In 1 Samuel 17:45-47, David actively defies Goliath. David said to him: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
In prayer, tell God about your problem, your pain. Ask for strength to overcome it. Tell the problem that you come against it in the name of the Lord Almighty and that He will give you victory.
Third, take action. First Samuel 17:48 tells us that David ran quickly toward the army to meet Goliath. We too should not shrink back from our giants. Too many people start off with good intentions to fix challenges in their lives, but never actually follow through.
For some, taking action might mean confessing their sin to a trusted friend and being accountable to them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. As the body of Christ, we are all called to bear one another’s burdens.
Fourth, persevere. Have you ever wondered why David chose five stones rather than just one from the brook? Did he not have enough faith that God would give him the victory with just one stone?
I believe David did have faith, but he was also realistic. If it took three stones or even five to bring Goliath down, it still would have been God’s victory. We must be persistent in the defeat of our giant. It may take a second time in a rehabilitation program to overcome your addiction, or a year of counseling before a marriage is well on its way to being repaired. God wants us to keep trying and not give up.
Romans 8:37 tells us: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Persistence grows character, character victory, and victory faith. Don’t be afraid to battle your giant. Know that God will give you victory over it.
Persevere—and don’t give up.
Lyris Bacchus, M.S., LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has a private practice in the Orlando, Florida, area.