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Meeting your Goliath

Two statues of David offer insight on how to face our own Goliaths.

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Sometimes, like any of us, I have to come face to face with Goliath. I'm getting better at it.

My husband and I spent some time in Italy, and two of the most iconic images I have from that trip are those of the statues of David we saw. One was sculpted by Donatello and the other by Michelangelo.

Donatello's small statue is that of a young boy. Looking down and off to the side, he stands with his foot on Goliath's head. The simplicity and humility expressed are apparent. And the placement of his foot on his enemy's head indicates dominion, which in David's case is the dominion of spiritual authority.

We also saw Michelangelo's famous portrayal of David. In contrast to Donatello's, it is tall, muscled, and looks more like an older teenager than a boy. There is no sign of Goliath. Yet this statue, too, is equally striking. To me, it expresses precision, confidence, and serenity.

Both statues captured David. He was both humble and confident; physically capable as well as innocent and eager. He was peaceful in his trust in God. The childlike willingness, combined with his spiritual authority (achieved by his desire to glorify God), enabled him to triumph over his enemy.

In rereading the Bible's account recently, I saw the unfoldment of events through a different light. David was a young shepherd boy going up against an established warrior. Goliath was bigger, more experienced, and more terrifying. David was just a kid! What on was he thinking?

But that's what's so great. David wasn't reasoning from a human or egotistical standpoint. He wasn't wondering, "What can I, a boy, do against this huge man?" Instead, he acknowledged the presence and absolute supreme power of God. David seemed almost outraged as he questioned his brothers and their friends about Goliath's identity: "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (see I Samuel 17). David was certain that God was present and powerful. And it was this humble, trusting, willing state of mind that enabled David to prevail easily over the Philistine.

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