“What is in your power to do?” It was a question raised in a conversation some time ago, between myself and a colleague. Up against a rock and a hard place sometimes we feel moments away from disaster. Currently war is devastating a people halfway around the world, emerging from Covid we are weary in our trust of each other and we anticipate division around every corner. Our world, that which we all participate in daily, has become annoying on good days and downright hostile on the worst. Daily we wake to yet another catastrophe, another landmine to dance around in conversation. School shootings, the next Coronavirus wave, strikes, inflation, food shortages, threat of nuclear war. Hit the snooze button dear I’m not ready to get up.
And forget about it if you are personally struggling! But honestly who isn’t? Addiction, marital problems, depression, family drama, anxiety, financial woes: we are a hurting people! Some days it’s just about surviving.
In 1st Samuel 17 a young person named David heard the daily murmurs about a giant as he sat around the fires of Israel’s camp. This monster of a man named Goliath would walk to the edge of the war zone boasting about how many men he had taken down. No one would challenge such a foe, he was too big, too powerful. Yet David approached him…
“The Philistine (Goliath) said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the field.” But David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the Philistine army this very day to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not save by sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's and he will give you into our hand.””
1 Samuel 17:43-47 NRSV
“What is in your power to do?” Perhaps David asked a slightly different question “What do WE have the power to do?” Whenever we face adversity alone, the weight of it crushes even the most courageous of us. Some things are just too big to take on by yourself, but when we work with each other and God towards it, we can slay giants.
If you’re reading this far you likely are a person with some sort of faith, so I’ll make my pitch here: find folks to practice your faith with. Find a church (I know it’s hard, you are invited to mine), join a Facebook group, call your old college roommate who you talked about God with. Find someone to face problems with, someone to support you and you them. Find a person who will help you grow your faith in God because it’s a heck of a lot easier to face giants when God and our community are with us. When we stand together, adversity shrinks and soon our pebbles can knock down our mighty foe.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NRSV