Finding Hope Through Biblical Teaching
Picture this. It’s Sunday morning, and you’re frantic, trying to get the kids ready for church after a long 40 plus hour workweek, only to find your son Jackson with at least 80% of his brother’s breakfast all over the freshly ironed shirt that you just clothed him with. You were late to church five minutes ago, and you’re considering (for a moment) staying at home, but you press forward.
After this brief pause, you quickly get the boys ready with the help of your loving husband and make it to the church service 5 minutes before the pastor begins his weekly message… and you breathe. As the worship team begins their last praise song, you begin to feel rejuvenated. There is something about worshiping God with the body of Christ that can calm the soul.
You begin to pray quietly with the lead vocalist as she closes the team’s time in prayer. Then, upon opening your eyes, you see the lead pastor walking towards the podium… and something is different. There is a boldness about him this morning that catches your eye, and within the first five minutes, you understand why.
Typically, (at least over the last few months), the messages preached have seemed stale, failing to meet your needs and expectations (not to pick sides here). Now, however, you’re hanging on every word as the pastor mentions everything that has been going on in your life over the last few weeks:
How you’re tired.
How there seems to be an overbearing shadow from a 60-foot wall casting darkness on your days… and you begin to weep.
These tears are from sorrow but also joy because at this moment, you know that you are not alone in suffering… and you’re thankful. As the pastor brings forward a familiar passage, there arises gladness in your heart simply because you know the passage and love its teaching.
With a “fresh” perspective, he takes you and others back in time to see the giant that is Goliath, who’s height is almost unimaginable (nine feet, nine inches tall). Standing on a brief overview of the history between the people of Israel and the Philistines, you feel empowered, ready to take on the enemies of God alongside His people.
Proclaiming the boldness of David, the pastor slams his fist on the podium and charges the church to be a people that choose courage amid fearful circumstances, regardless of how overbearing they may seem. “These giants that you’re facing have no power over you,” he claims! “You can push forward,” he urges… and you feel empowered.
You leave the church service with a spring in your step that you forgot was possible, and the rest of your day proclaims the gladness of your heart. You are loving, caring, and hopeful without a worry to bear because, at this moment, the “promise of deliverance” has rested upon your soul.
However, as weeks go by, you slowly notice that your “joy” has turned to mourning, and your boldness has turned lame. Courage had been a passerby! For a short while, you thought you had finally found the key to overcoming your obstacles only to be left with those same obstacles weeks later with the added dose of despair from the loss of empowerment that promised you freedom.
Remembering that this spark of joy met you as the pastor preached, you run to the story of David and Goliath. Pouring over the pages, you faithfully seek to find the encouragement that you once felt, only to come up short… because it isn’t there. You search in chapters prior, finding the deep animosity between the Philistines and the people of Israel; check.
You hurry to locate the exact location of the conversation between David and Goliath, speedily finding it; check. With some encouragement now, you begin to rest in the scriptures while searching for the boldness that the pastor had called you to take hold of, soon to find it; check… but you notice something.
You notice that the boldness that David had in this heroic moment of courage had nothing to do with David slaying his symbolic giants and had everything to do with him taking a stand for the glory of God because Goliath had defied Him and His people. (1 Sam. 17:45) You also notice that even though David faithfully dared to fight Goliath, David’s victory was given to Him by our God in heaven.
And you’re humbled, seeing with fresh eyes how your once “rejuvenated” heart quickly grew weary because your brokenness had been falsely repaired. You were in a place where you didn’t believe that God would help you anymore, and this preacher’s false application offered you more hope in yourself than God to destroy strongholds (and you rested in the lies of Satan). The reason for David’s confidence was not because Goliath “couldn’t overpower him” no! David had confidence because he had God and fully trusted that He would deliver Him just like He had done many times before in the fields.
Going even deeper in the word, you see that God doesn’t always promise freedom from painful circumstances but promises to be with you in the midst of trouble. Goliath was not the last obstacle for David, and your current hardships will likely not be the last evil you face (again, this passage is not symbolic of hardships). David loved, trusted, and honored His God!
More importantly, God loved, cared for, and protected the life of David. This passage is more about God’s might, love, power, and glory than anything! The power of God was never going to work through the words of that Sunday message because the application given fell short of the truth.
But hear me. I don’t want you walking away from this with a crushed spirit, thinking that the Lord never promises freedom or deliverance from pain and struggle because He does at points. He also promises the chance for joy, comfort, hope, and peace, regardless of your circumstances! But these promises are found in God Himself and His relationship to you. Not simply from the absence of hardship, though they are also there.
I’m joyful in being reminded of the Psalmist David, who wrote,
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because You are with me.” (Psalm 23:4).
Sure, we can physically do things that will make our lives better to a degree, but if our trust doesn’t go beyond our actions, we’re doomed. Be joyful in the fact that God does promise peace for those who seek Him (Phil. 4:6-7) and will be with them wherever they go. (1 Cor. 3:16)
Grace and Peace, Church