Who or what is your Goliath? Who will protect you mightily, battle for you, gather spoils into your treasury? Who stands between you and your least-desired future? What wealth or weapon lies ready in your vault?
When COVID-19 reached my hometown last spring, churches and universities ceased face-to-face gatherings. Hospitals were buying extra space for quarantine wards. The stock market plummeted. Masks, respirators, and hand sanitizer were in short supply. Sports championships were cancelled. A huge sinkhole gaped maw-like on campus. Already operatives had attacked our digital security. The Southeast had flooded; then a nighttime tornado struck Middle Tennessee, killing thirty-one.
This was a different sort of March madness. Our medical systems, transportation, economy, infrastructure, entertainment, and internet were faltering. We could no longer blissfully depend on them. Those Goliaths could not underwrite our dreams.
We breathe in; we breathe out. Ah, yes. The Spirit still brings life.
Babies will be born today. Parents will conceive today. Some kindly hands and hearts will serve up chili for the hungry. Some pilot will land the plane safely. Some firefighters will save bodies from flames. Some nurse will gently bathe a patient, some doctor save a heart. Some voices will sing hymns, chant prayers to lift our souls. A dad will do the laundry, a mom feed and bathe the little ones. A grandparent will read stories to children whose heads nod sleepily. Some scientist may discover a never-before-seen star. Some teacher will inspire a lifetime’s pursuit. Some priest will bless and pardon, some sailor turn the rudder toward home. Some young shepherd will stand up to a giant and save the people. We love as God anoints us, and the Spirit—not Goliath—empowers our life.
Breathe yourself into us, O God, that we may depend on you alone and breathe you out upon each other. Amen.
As children of God, we will face opposition; but God will ultimately give us victory. The psalmist cries out to God asking for deliverance from oppression at the hands of his enemies and concludes the psalm with the assurance that God will do so. Tradition credits this psalm to David, who as a boy had risked his life against Goliath based on that same assurance. Goliath mocked the Israelites and their God, but God gave the victory. Paul recounts his sufferings for the gospel, yet he is not overcome or in despair, for he trusts in God. Jesus calms a storm and is disappointed that the disciples show so little faith. Why do they not believe in God’s deliverance? And what about us? Do we still believe in God’s deliverance?
Read 1 Samuel 17:1a, 4-11, 19-23, 32-49. What “armor” do you use to protect yourself? When have you found the courage to put aside your armor because it was holding you back?
Read Psalm 9:9-20. When have you been provoked to cry out, “Rise up, O Lord?” On whose behalf did you cry?
Read 2 Corinthians 6:1-13. How have you commended yourself as a servant of God?
Read Mark 4:35-41. How do you find the quiet center when the storms of life rage around you?
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