I asked Leigh O’Dell, one of our lawyers in the Mass Torts Section, to do a special piece this month that would be appropriate for our readers who face the difficult challenges of our times.
CONFRONTING OUR GIANTS
Life is, and always has been, full of challenges, obstacles, and problems. At the present time, however, it seems that some of the challenges that we are face are particularly intense. We face a serious economic crisis, an unfortunate fraying of our nation’s moral fabric, and political unrest around the world. We also face challenges and problems that arise closer to home. In recent months, I have encountered people who are suffering serious difficulty – the loss of a loved one, the loss of a home to foreclosure, and the loss of a job. For some of us, our challenges are perhaps not as dramatic, but we find ourselves struggling with a difficult relationship, fear of the future, or the failing health of an aging parent. All of us face difficulties.
It seems to me that these situations could be considered in some ways to be “giants” in our lives. Without the right perspective, they are problems that can appear to be overwhelming and seemingly insurmountable. In God’s word, a story is told of when the army of the nation of Israel, God’s people, faced a “giant.” As King Saul and the Israelite army prepared for battle against the Philistines, a Philistine warrior named Goliath walked out onto the plain between the readying troops and issued this challenge: “I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other. If he is able to kill me, we will become your subjects but if I kill him, you will serve our subjects and serve us.” (I Samuel 17:8).
According to 1 Samuel 17, Goliath was a mountain of a man – he was 9 feet, 9 inches tall; his armor weighed 125 pounds; and his spear was the size of a fence post – the iron tip alone weighed 15 pounds. He was a giant! King Saul and his army were terrified. A young man named David had been sent by his father to take provisions to his older brothers who served in King Saul’s army. When he arrived onto the battle field, David heard Goliath’s challenge, a challenge that Goliath had issued daily for 40 days. David was a shepherd boy, much more accustomed to watching over sheep in the solitude of the wilderness than waging war. But when David heard Goliath defy not only the army of God’s people but in a sense God Himself, David was compelled to step in. From David, we learn the secrets of how to defeat the “giants” in our lives.
First, no matter what “giant” we face, we must confront it. David, upon hearing Goliath’s challenge, sized up Goliath’s power in light of God’s power and immediately accepted Goliath’s blasphemous challenge. Not only did he size up the giant in light of God’s power, he also did not procrastinate. He agreed to fight Goliath on the very morning he arrived onto the battlefield. David’s approach is a lesson for all of us. When faced with a challenge, problem or crisis, we should take the initiative to deal with the problem immediately, rather than waiting or avoiding it. It is always better to face a situation head on and to do so immediately.
Second, and most importantly, we have to trust in the Lord’s power. Most of us remember this famous story and know that David killed Goliath with a sling and a stone. David did not trust in his own power or his own abilities, he trusted in the power of the Lord. When facing Goliath, David said, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head.” (I Samuel 17:45-46). Like David, as we face life’s problems and obstacles, we must trust in the Lord’s power, not our own. In our own strength, we will certainly fail, but if we rely on His strength and His power, we shall certainly prevail no matter the seriousness or magnitude of the difficulty we face.
As we face the “giants” in our lives, let’s be encouraged and learn from David. We can trust that God will guide and strengthen us if we deal with the challenge head on and rely fully on His power and not our own.
May 22, 2009
I found Leigh’s words to be both encouraging and enlightening. Certainly, we all face our giants on a daily basis, with some of them being on the scale of Goliath, and we must deal with those challenges. We can handle them, but only by trusting God and relying on Him.
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