by Debbie W. Wilson
A sonogram and follow-up MRI revealed a dirty mass I couldn’t ignore. My unwelcome intruder grew ten feet when my doctor referred me to an oncologist. Both my parents and father-in-law died of cancer. My stomach twisted when I pictured entering the towering UNC Cancer Center—as a patient.
Some family members urged me to hasten my surgery. “We need to know if it’s cancer. If so, what stage?”
I understood. If we know our giant’s name, we know what we’re up against. My giant led me to David and Goliath.
As [David] was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear. (1 Sam. 17:23–24 NIV)
To better appreciate this scene, let’s look at the players. According to Numbers 1:3, men twenty or older could serve in Israel’s army. If four of David’s older brothers weren’t old enough to serve and if these brothers were a year apart, David would have been around fifteen when his father sent him to check on his older brothers at war.
This Philistine champion towered a good three and a half feet over the average soldier. No one, not David’s older brothers nor Israel’s accomplished military king, would face him. But the brute that sent an army fleeing only roused David’s indignation. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Sam. 17:26 NIV). King Saul heard about David and sent for him. His hopes collapsed when he met this rosy-cheeked youth. David’s older brother had already accused him of selfishness. Failure meant certain death. David lacked the status of an army private. If victory depended on age, size, title, weapons, birth order or experience, David was done before he’d begun. Yet, David didn’t hesitate.
David didn’t focus on his critics or his limitations. He dismissed his brother’s derision, addressed his king’s concerns and focused on the Lord. While Israel’s soldiers compared Goliath to themselves, David compared the giant to God. Next to Israel’s God, Goliath was a cockroach to be squashed.
The heart of a warrior king beat strong inside David. “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Sam. 17:37 NIV). Defending sheep had taught David how to be strong in the Lord and prepared him to be God’s instrument in this battle between good and evil.
Goliath, armed with a sword, spear and javelin, ranted as he paced the battlefield. His shield-bearer scurried to keep in step. Unhurried by the giant’s threats, David selected five smooth stones from a stream. Armed with his sling and shepherd’s staff, he crossed the valley to face this snarling killer.
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. (1 Sam. 17:45 NIV)
The story of how David triumphed over Goliath changed how I waited for surgery. David didn’t bother to even say Goliath’s name. The only name that mattered was the name of the Lord Almighty.
If surgery revealed a giant named cancer, it didn’t change God. The Lord Almighty is bigger than cancer. If my illness ended in death, it didn’t change God. Jesus is “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
I’m thankful my mass was benign. I’m also grateful God used this to teach me the importance of focusing on the name of the Lord. How much peace do we forfeit by focusing on our problems instead of on Him? Neither my weakness nor my enemy’s strength changes God. But the wrong focus steals my peace and strength. David’s hope didn’t rest in his weapons, himself or the size of his giant. Ours shouldn’t either.
Perhaps you’re facing a giant with an intimidating name and history—a giant named Debt, Death, Infertility, Injustice, Adultery, Divorce, Cancer, Diabetes or Learning Disability. Human strength is no match for your monster. On what name will you focus—the name of your giant or the name of your God? When our God is small every problem feels big. But giants tumble before a big God.
Adapted from Little Strength, Big God
Debbie W. Wilson, Bible teacher, former biblical counselor and author of Little Women, Big God, Little Faith, Big God and Little Strength, Big God, combines insight and encouragement to inspire readers to trust Christ with their lives. Find free resources and connect with Debbie at debbieWwilson.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest.