“…for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.”
(See, 1 Samuel 17:45-47 in context).
NOTE TO READERS: This article is an adaptation from a previous article I had published at another blog, and a teaching given by Mormon President Thomas S. Monson. The relevance shares insights in furthering our understanding in facing the challenges in life. Whether one wants to admit it: life is a battle we are engaging in. We either let it defeat us, or we rise and continually prove to be the victors in managing and directing our own life.
“I…like to think of David as the righteous lad who had the courage and the faith to face insurmountable odds when all other’s hesitated, and to redeem the name of Israel by facing that giant in his life – Goliath of Gath.” President, Thomas S. Monson.
What Goliath stands between us and our happiness?
The story of David and Goliath is a very profound story of facing one’s greatest enemy. The courage to stand alone with only a simple weapon at hand. With faith in Israel’s God, David stood face to face with the giant warrior of the Philistines. A shepherd with only five stones and a sling against a Giant clad in battle armor and brandishing weapons of war. To the onlooker, David appeared foolish. Appeared to be on a suicide mission. Yet, there he stood, a young boy facing the greatest enemy of his people. As the account goes, David not only slays Goliath, he decapitates the giants head.
Many people, today, face their Goliath. Whether it is substance use, abuse, traumatic experiences from child hood, rejection, broken-heart, death, or any other significant loss. Armed with only simple means of defending oneself proves to be vital in our fight to continue to endure and overcome our own obstacles in life.
Facing a well protected giant
Goliath appears to be more powerful when we appear to be suffering. For the individual – it is the courage and faith to stand alone to battle and overcome. Meaning, it is not merely enough to slay – it is to overpower and subdue one’s fear. To decapitate it. How is this accomplished?
Just like in the story of David and Goliath, David recognized that the enemy he faced was not merely going to be slain by his own hand. David recognized that it took a greater power than himself to stand there and face the giant of the Philistines. “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty God” is what David declared.
Higher power and divine inspiration
Recognizing the need of a higher power is not so much about having a sense of religious conviction or experience. The need for a higher power is the recognition that it is going to take something greater than ourselves and greater than the power of our adversity over our lives. We may be armed with simple tools, yet when placed in the hands of one who seeks to rely on their higher power, those simple weapons turn into the greater blessings of defense against the constant slandering of our Goliath. What are these simple tools? The Shepard boy went to the stream and carefully selected five specific smooth stones.
Selecting our smooth stones from the stream of life
Stone of Courage
There are two courses in life we may take up our journey. The first is an easy road, well-traveled, conforming to social standards, and easily paved by other individuals who made the journey. It is not our chosen path. The second path we may take up is a journey where we are required to forge our own path. It appears to be impossible, impenetrable, and raises a sense of hopeless. We either surmise it is difficult and opt for the easy, well-traveled path, or become courageous to forge our own path.
The stone of courage gives us the strength to face and overcome our fear and sense of helplessness in life. It provides the means in which, despite our fears, we move forward toward our own sense of purpose and meaning.
Stone of Effort
This stone is two-fold. It is our mental effort and our physical effort. Mental effort in that it takes energy to silence the critical voice in our heads. The voice of judgment, ridicule, criticism. The effort here is capturing our thoughts and challenging them. Physical effort reflects our ability to physically push through to continue toward the realization of our goal. Working to save money, climbing out of our own sense of suffering, endure hardship.
Stone of Humility
This particular stone recognizes our limitations, our weaknesses, and shows our sense of gratitude toward something that is more powerful than our own volition and ability to overcome. It is our ability to recognize the need to surrender and give our own will over to something that provides personal revelation and guidance in our own lives. For the Christian, this is God. For others, a higher sense of consciousness.
Stone of Prayer and meditation
Through our sense of humility, we come to recognize the need to consistently meditate and enter into prayer. It helps keeps us humble, ground us, and connect us to a higher sense of purpose and revelation.
Stone of Duty
The final stone we select is duty. Engaging in facing and overcoming our own adversity and obstacles that bar us from acheiving a life of meaning and purpose requires a sense of duty. We continue to follow through with our commitment, whether we may like the presenting circumstances or not.
The Sling of Faith and staff of virtue
These five stones are not enough. We need to have the power the sling of faith offers. Couple this with the staff of virtue, we are steady and ready to face whatever obstacle we may face.
So, how do these stones help bring down the Goliaths in our path?
- Stone of courage destroys our fears
- Stone of effort destroys indecision and procrastination
- Stone of humility will destroy pride/ego and envy
- Stone of prayer and meditation will destroy obstinate
- Stone of duty collides with and destroys anything that threatens our self-respect
Decisions are to made purposefully
It is when we face adversity in our lives that decisions to go one way or another make a difference. We face battles daily. Our victory does not happen by default. When we move toward a more conscious understanding of living life, we understand that we are to anticipate any challenges and decisions needing to be made.
Do we hide, tremble in fear, or take up the staff of virtue, the sling of faith, and carefully select our stones that will help us defeat whatever Goliath stands in our way?