I have been trying to train my brain to rephrase the negative questions in the echo chamber of my mind. Among the self-doubts, I can think too small, especially in the midst of hard circumstances. The story of David and Goliath comes to mind:  small boy facing big giant. That’s a pretty accurate picture of me sometimes in the midst of overwhelming circumstances. There’s an old children’s song retelling the story of David’s victory over Goliath:

Only a boy named David; only a little stream.
Only a boy named David, but he could play and sing.
Only a boy named David, only a rippling brook.
Only a boy named David, but five little stones he took.
And one little stone went into the sling, and the sling went ‘round and ‘round
And one little stone went into the sling, and the sling went ‘round and ‘round
And ‘round and ‘round and ‘round and ‘round and ‘round and ‘round and ‘round;
And one little stone flew up in the air, and the giant came tumbling down.

What were David’s beginnings? A rustic shepherd boy in the midst of primitive circumstances. But he had a couple talents that he’d been practicing:  he knew how to play the harp, and he was good at throwing stones with a sling. Sounds kind of like a small thing. Not too impressive. Mere childrens’ toys. And that is exactly the nugget that Goliath tried to taunt David with. 

“He said to David, ‘Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?’
And the Philistine cursed David,”
1 Samuel 17:43

That wasn’t the first jibe David had endured. Among the injustices in his life was the scorn of his brothers. He had been sent on an errand by his father to deliver some food to his brothers who were among King’s Saul’s fighting men, but who had been camping out in fear of Goliath for forty days. The brothers scorned David and his optimism and faith. Saul also spoke negativity over David, saying “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy,” (1 Samuel 17:33). But Zechariah 4:10 says “do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” That is a refreshing word! He knew his stature wasn’t threatening, but his faith in God didn’t take note of his own weaknesses and shortcomings.

David recognized where his identity was hidden, and he built himself up not on his own ego and pride, but on the living God who was greater than his circumstances. God had been with him when he overtook the lion and the bear while shepherding his flock, and he did not despise his own weakness to the degree that he stayed crouched down in fear and timidity. When he finally convinced Saul of his zeal to fight the giant, Saul attempted to cloak him in his own armor. But it didn’t fit. He did not follow “hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world,” (Colossians 2:8). It made sense in the natural, but it didn’t fit in the spiritual realm. This act didn’t make him unprepared or unwise; on the contrary, “he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine,” (1 Samuel 17:40. He didn’t just choose one stone, but he prepared for the impending battle with five.

What are the giants in your life you are facing right now? May our great God go before you as you select “five smooth stones” to aim at that giant—action items that can help you walk out the difficulty you are facing. What are the giftings God has place within you that can be wielded right now in this season to strengthen you in the midst of hard circumstances?

“It’s the fight that conditions me to live in the blessing once I get to the breakthrough. If I didn’t get the conditioning, I wouldn’t be able to handle that which God wanted to release in my life” (Bill Johnson, “Treasuring the Word”).

There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!… “Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.”
1 Kings 18:44

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