Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shoot, where did I put my sling?

"tending the sheep"
1 Samuel 16:11

Okay, let's play a round of word association.  I'll say a word, and you say what word it makes you think of.  Ready?

macaroni and ...... {did you say "cheese"?}

peanut butter and ......  {I'll accept either "jelly" or "chocolate" here :) }

Adam and .... {Eve.  Unless you know something I don't.}

Romeo and .... {I'm thinking Juliet, of course.}

David and .....

Yup, I've got David and Goliath on my mind today.  There are a lot of stories about David in the Bible, particularly in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, but somehow, most of the time, when you think of David, you think of Goliath.  It's one of the first stories kids learn in Sunday School, and it's a visual that sticks with us for years.  It's also a plot that makes its way into movies and After-School Specials.   The pure-hearted, good guy vs the bigger, stronger, tougher bad guy.  What could be better than the hero beating the villain?  The underdog beating the champion?

It makes a good story to read of David practically coming out of nowhere.  He was just bringing his brothers some bread and cheese at the battlefield when heard Goliath challenging the Israelite warriors.  None would take him on, so David did.

The wonderful thing is, this wasn't the "unexperienced fighter/shepherd boy" vs "seasoned professional warrior" battle that we were taught when we were kids.  No, David had never fought a battle.  But God had been preparing him for this day for a long time.  For David was a shepherd.

We tend to think of shepherding as a romantic occupation.  Gentle and pastoral, loving and guiding those fluffy, adorably-dumb creatures.  But shepherding is also protecting.  David had killed both a lion and a bear, in protecting his sheep, and maybe those instances had been about protecting his own life, too.   He didn't know anything about Goliath in his future.  He just did what needed to be done, when it needed to be done, and it prepared him.

I thought of this story today, as I chatted with my Amazing Boy.  I asked him how his baseball practice had gone, and he said he had fun, except for the part when they were fielding.  Coach was hitting balls to them, and hitting them, as my boy said, "way too hard!"  He says none of the teams they play have anyone who can hit that hard, so why should they have to practice catching balls that hard?   Sometimes it even hurts to catch a ball that's hit that hard!

Well, it very well might hurt, but I'm not sure it's possible to train too hard for something.  I believe that God wastes nothing, so everything we face in our lives just might be strengthening us for something else.  David wasn't just killing a lion, he was practicing for Goliath.  My son isn't just taking fielding practice, he is preparing for tough competition.   You are not just "stuck with" that annoying co-worker, or "putting up with" that boring job, or "battling" that circumstance.  You are being prepared, strengthened or equipped for what's down the road.  

I hope that's encouraging news, not daunting.  Right now you only have to deal with right now.  Do your best with what's in front of you, but trust Him.  Know that He allows nothing to come your way that is not for your good, and His glory.   So batter up!

~ "The battle belongs to the Lord" ~
1 Samuel 17:47

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