Standing up to Goliath
Most people probably thought he was crazy. He was a child. A shepherd. A boy with only a slingshot and five smooth stones. His competition was a giant. A trained warrior. A man with a sword and a shield and a spear.
The challenge - a battle with this giant - had other soldiers shaking with fear. No one wanted to fight Goliath. And for good reason! Who could stand up to a bully this big and powerful - and win?
But David volunteered. Even though he had no training and no real weapons. Even though he couldn't wear the armor he was offered because it was too big and heavy. Even though Saul, the king, told him that he was just a kid and that Goliath was a highly trained warrior.
David, however, wasn't worried. Even when Goliath laughed at David and told him that he would soon be dead, David didn't flinch. His bravery in those moments is hard to imagine. How did he stand strong and unafraid in the face of such a terrifying opponent?
In spite of the way things seemed, David wasn't standing alone. He had God at his side - and on his side - all along. This is what he told Saul and the armies. And this is what he told Goliath, too. In fact, David didn't once claim to be fighting on his own. Every step of the way, he reminded the people around him - and perhaps himself, too - that God was with him and was helping him.
"Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield," he said to Goliath when they met on the battlefield. "But I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts" (I Sam. 17:45).
And then, David killed Goliath, using his slingshot and just one of his five smooth stones.
When I first read this story, I was a little bit puzzled. Even though Goliath was bad, it didn't seem fair that God helped David but not Goliath. But as I thought about it some more, I realized that the story of David and Goliath isn't about God taking sides. It's about the fact that evil is actually powerless in the face of good.
What David took into battle were five smooth stones. But, more important, what he took with him was his trust in God.
As I've thought about this story, I've realized that those stones which took down the giant stood for powerful thoughts. Thoughts that kept David safe. Thoughts from God that completely destroyed what seemed like a giant, scary evil.
What do you think some of David's "stones" could have been? Maybe the fact that God loved him. The fact that God was all around him. The fact that God's goodness was so big and true that evil was nothing by comparison.
Mary Baker Eddy, the woman who founded this newspaper, talked about these thoughts when she wrote, "Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," pg. 210).
David wasn't worried about Goliath's armor and weapons because he had something better. He had the "impervious armor" - that means armor that nothing can get through - of his good thoughts. And not only did those good thoughts keep him safe, but they also wiped out fear. These thoughts proved that God's love was right there, destroying anything that wasn't good.
Sometimes, the world today can seem scary. There are times when it feels like there are lots of "Goliaths" out there - things that make us feel afraid or sad or worried. But, like David, we can stand up to those scary things by filling our thoughts with everything - or anything - we know about God.
These ideas about God don't have to be big or grand or complicated. Remember, what David had were five smooth stones. And that was enough. David was only a kid, but what he knew about God kept him safe. One thing David knew for sure was that God was with him. And that thought helped him not feel afraid, even when evil seemed huge and close and threatening.
When we're faced with "Goliaths," filling our thoughts with what we know about God can help us feel God's presence, too. Then, like David, we'll know why we can keep standing strong. And that's because God is standing with us - always.