By Greg Laurie
We all have giants we face in life, seemingly insurmountable problems or obstacles. It could be a giant of fear, something that’s frightening you. Whenever you think about it, you’re filled with anxiety and dread. Maybe it isn’t even a rational fear, but it’s a real fear nonetheless. You find yourself asking, “What if this happens? What if that happens?”
Maybe you overcame this giant, so to speak, for a week or even a month. You thought you had victory. Then it came back with a vengeance, stronger than ever, and it brought you down. Here’s what you need to know: You can overcome these giants. We need to face them in faith and know that God is bigger than any giant we will meet in the coming year.
In the Bible we see what happened in the life of one young man who was able to bring his giant down. His name was David. Here’s what Hebrews 11 tells us about him: “It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight” (verses 32–34 NLT). David stopped the mouths of lions. He was valiant in battle. And he did fight armies.
David was a study in contrasts. He was both a warrior and a worshiper, both a fighter and a lover. He was a king, and he also was a sinner. When we’re introduced to him in the Bible, he was a shepherd.
God had spoken to the prophet Samuel and said in effect, “I’m done with King Saul. He’s out. My new king is from the house of Jesse, living in Bethlehem.” So the prophet went to Bethlehem. Now when a prophet showed up, it was a big deal. The whole town turned out, eager to hear what Samuel had to say. First Samuel offered a sacrifice, and then he asked Jesse to bring out his boys.
Jesse brought his seven strapping sons before the visiting prophet. As Samuel looked at them, he wondered who would be the next king. But God said to him, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV).
Samuel looked over the whole gang of seven, and not one of them was the right one. Then he turned to Jesse and asked if he had any more sons.
Jessie told him, “There is still the youngest. But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats” (verse 11 NLT).
When David was brought in, the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him” (verse 12 NLT). So the prophet anointed David as Israel’s next king, and David went back to tending the sheep. Fast-forward, and the children of Israel are in a conflict with their longtime enemies, the Philistines.
Jesse sent David on an errand to take bread and cheese to his brothers who were serving in the Israeli army. But while David was there, he overheard an overgrown Philistine strutting around in the valley of Elah, taunting and challenging Israel to send someone to fight him.
That Philistine was Goliath, 9-feet-6-inches of solid muscle, covered head to toe in body armor. Goliath was saying, “I’ll make you a deal. If the guy who fights me wins, we will serve you. But if we win, you will serve us.”
David said, “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26 NLT) Then he told King Saul that he would fight Goliath. I can only imagine everyone laughing hysterically at this point. Really? You and what army? But you know the rest of the story. As Goliath moved closer to attack David, David quickly ran out to meet him. David didn’t just hold his ground; he went into attack mode. He went out and conquered his giant.
We all have giants in our lives, but every giant can be defeated. The key to David’s success was that he knew the battle belonged to the Lord. He told Goliath, “All this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands” (verse 47 NKJV). Giants in our lives defeat us again and again because we face them in our own strength. We can’t win a spiritual battle by defeating our giants in our own strength. We can only do it through God’s strength. So we rest in his strength when we face our giants.
Whatever your problem is right now, pray about it. Is something troubling you? Pray about it. Turn your worries into prayers. Turn your fears into prayers. Turn your problems into petitions. The Bible says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6 NLT). Pray about it, because when you pray, your perspective changes.
When we see God for who he is, we will see a problem for what it is. Often our problems loom so large because our view of God is so small. And if we can see God in his greatness, we will see our problems in perspective. Yes, they are still there – until they go away and are replaced by another problem. But God is there, too. And there is no giant too big for God to bring down.
Greg Laurie is pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif. This editorial first appeared on his blog.