We have often heard the story of David and Goliath, of the tremendous daring and courage, the tremendous risk, that David took in facing this giant warrior when none of the seasoned warriors in Saul’s army had enough backbone to do so. It seems like such an improbable story, this relatively average youth with no experience at war facing off against a seasoned, hardened, skilled, and vicious warrior. But although we can never discount David’s tremendous courage where everyone else was afraid, there are a few background details that explain how David could do such a thing and which help us to understand how we can claim such courage when we face the gargantuan challenges in our lives. One thing to remember about David was that he was a shepherd much of his youth. This meant spending a lot of time alone in the fields, in nature. We know from scripture that David was a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14, Acts 13:22). So it is safe to assume that all those many hours that he spent alone in the fields, he was often in prayer to God, perhaps continuously. During those times of prayer, God prepared David in those tranquil days for the battles ahead of him.
Moreover, God broke down David’s preparation into accessible and ever progressive steps that built up his courage for that moment. We know from David’s own report that he had killed both a lion and a bear in the fields while protecting his sheep (1 Sam. 17:34-37). David cited these events as evidence that he was capable of facing a warrior and killing him in the same way. This is the same thing that God does for us in the trials and challenges that we face. If we are mindful enough and have vision enough to recognize the work of God, I believe that we will all find that God has prepared us for the various trials and challenges that we are faced with by smaller challenges that built up our skill and courage to face greater things later. God is ever faithful as a Father, Friend, and Teacher to us, wanting the very best out of us, but knowing our frailties and weaknesses and knowing that we require progressive steps of preparation to build our maturity, wisdom, strength, and courage.
But besides the time alone with God, and the steps of preparatory training, we also need a mind and heart that is willing to be courageous, willing to believe in the God that is behind us and with us every step of the way. He even gives a command to a man of great courage in the Bible, Joshua, that applies to us as well: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9). This charge to us is repeated in Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Since this admonition is stated twice in Scripture and stated in such explicit and bold terms, I believe that God really wants all of us to heed these words, believe them, and to apply them to our lives. We must always be willing to face our trials and challenges undaunted, unswayed, and unbowed, with the courage of David and Joshua, knowing that, with God on our side, helping us, “we are more than conquerors” against all things we face in life.
What has been your greatest challenge in life in which God gave you victory? I would love to hear from you.