By Hilary Scheppers
Prayer before reading: Thank you for this day, Lord, where we can learn about who You are through Your written Word. Thank you, Lord, for this community of women who have come to read from the vine. [Mass Readings: Mark 3: 1-6, 1 Samuel 17: 32-51]
Have You Ever Doubted
Have you ever doubted God’s power and love for you? Maybe you’ve doubted God’s ability to heal a loved one or doubted God’s favor in providing. Perhaps you’ve doubted God to repair a broken relationship.
Well, in today’s first reading, we learn that there is no battle too great for the Lord.
The story of David and Goliath from the first book of Samuel speaks to us of David’s faith in the Lord and what happens as a result. The chances of Israel winning a battle over the Philistines were low, but they must have seemed even lower when the little shepherd boy appeared with a sling and five stones.
Even though I have heard this story many times, I am always amazed at David’s unshakeable faith in the Lord to deliver him from the battle. He proceeds to Goliath with almost nothing but the faith that God will deliver him. Which makes me wonder when the last time I came to a battle without a sword was?
Modern Day Battles
I mean, the battles of 2020 look different than in David’s time: there’s the battle of dating, job searching, extreme weather changes, paying bills on time, caring for your health, and the well-being of others are all daily challenges. Even the battle of living for Christ in a secular world can present its challenges. And sometimes in the battle, we find that our tongues are the sword that is most handy.
When we are angry or hurt, we know how to speak cuttingly at the ones we most love. Tempted to lash out with our words because we think—this is how I win. But when the battle is over, the words have cut; there is a messy field between ourselves and others. This is tearing the kingdom down.
In this story, I see David walk across the field to meet the Giant — without armor, without a sword. He trusts his life to God, saying, the battle is the Lord’s. He knows God will deliver him from every battle, just as He had protected David and the sheep from lions and bears before. The battle is not David’s to win, but the Lord’s. To the dismay of everyone, he defeats the giant.
There was a time last year when I was trying to solve a problem without prayer. In God’s absence, I “reached for my sword,” and went about my usual ways of taking emotional charge to fix things.
Forgetting What Really Works
Even David has a chapter in his story where he forgets to have faith. Years later, when David is fleeing King Saul’s death threats, David enters the temple where Goliath’s sword had been kept on display and takes it with him for protection as he continues his “on the run” journey. David takes the very sword which couldn’t save Goliath from death, but somehow David thinks this sword will save him.
How silly we are sometimes to reach for what we know doesn’t work because of fear or stress. We forget Who provides a way out through a path of true resolution.
What battles are in your life this moment? What swords have you been picking up and bringing to battle? Is there a giant you don’t think you can face without armor? Perhaps you’re battling a family member because they don’t understand you? Maybe you’re battling the transition of careers. Are you facing the giant of grief or debt? Perhaps the giant is the obstacle of doubt, keeping you from an abundant, joyful, and fruitful faith in God.
Call upon Jesus to help you find a way to trust Him with whatever your giant is — to deliver you from the battle, so you can halt your worry and return to building His kingdom. Pray that Jesus will show you the way, so you don’t have to harm your relationship with Him or others in the process. He will always provide a way. Nothing is too big for our God.
Prayer after reading: Lord, I pray that I may have faith like young David. May I trust you to conquer the giant before me this day. Let me believe that there is no problem that you cannot overcome. It is not for me to understand how or when, but I pray the Holy Spirit to direct my ordinary self, transform my faith this day to be an unstoppable witness to your Good work.
About the author:
Hilary Scheppers is a religious poet and writer from Minnesota. She holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a B.A. in Humanities/Theology from Loyola Marymount University. Her poetry and nonfiction appear or are forthcoming in Parabola, Apofenie, Breadcrumbs, and elsewhere. Her favorite bird is either the mourning dove or the oropendola. Twitter: @hiloschpprs