By Steve Horn
ALEXANDRIA, La. –
In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears.
-2 Samuel 22:7
My Facebook memory notifications are reminding me that this week marks four years since the historic floods in South Louisiana. Our church at the time had 50 families with water in their homes. In some ways, four years seems like a lifetime ago. So it is with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita of 2005. So it is with 9-11, now nearly 19 years ago. One day, we will talk about COVID-19 the way we talk about these other life catastrophes.
All of those were, and are headline-dominant, history-making, life-altering events – giants, if you will. And in this COVID-weary season, there often appears to be no shortage of these giants. They simply keep coming. Their shadows cover our attempts to recapture some degree of normalcy in our ministries, our families and our culture.
We know about David’s battle with Goliath, but the rapid succession of giants coming against David, as recorded in 2 Samuel 21:15-22, is not as familiar. In the span of eight verses, we learn of four giants coming against Israel. All four were descendants of that great giant, Goliath. All were notorious in one way or the other. One even had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot! Words like “again,” “another,” and “after that” dominate this portion of the story. Sometimes, the giants seem to keep coming—again and again.
We’re not facing literal giants but COVID, civil unrest, political bickering, and economic uncertainty all could qualify as giants. And the toll these giants inflicted on David, leave their mark on us as well.
As you read 2 Samuel 21 and 22, notice these truths:
- Battling giants leaves us exhausted (2 Samuel 21:15). David was a warrior. He was accustomed to battles. He was victorious for the most part but after a while, the constant battles with giants began to exert their toll on him. One of the most frequent comments I hear from pastors across our state is they are exhausted. Some have become so fatigued, they have left the ministry. But be encouraged because …
- God sends us people to help us with the giants. David killed Goliath, but he didn’t kill any of the four giants of 2 Samuel 21. God knows when to send others to our aid. When your tank is empty, God often fills it with the assistance of others.
- God hears our prayers. There’s no mention of prayer in 2 Samuel 21, but in David’s reflection of the events in 2 Samuel 22 we see that he “called to the Lord” and God “heard.” Perhaps you could use the reminder today that God hears when we call. In our exhaustion, in our distress, we may not “feel” like He hears – but He does.
- God receives our praise. You would think 2 Samuel 22 belongs in the Psalms. This beautiful Psalm fits the narrative of the victory over the giants in 2 Samuel 21. It brings to mind the one leper among the ten who immediately returned to Jesus to offer Him praise for the healing from his leprosy. David recognized that his deliverance came from God. Let us do the same.
Today it’s COVID-19 and all the consequences that accompany a pandemic. Tomorrow – only God knows. The giants will keep coming. But . . . God. God is present. God knows our condition. God hears. He provides. Let us praise Him, even in our exhaustion, because He is worthy of our praise.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]
Steve Horn is executive director for Louisiana Baptists. This editorial first appeared on his blog.