The Israelites, led by King Saul were at war with the Philistines. In those days war was very much a hand-to-hand affair. Huge masses of soldiers from each army camped in the hills surrounding a large valley. In the morning they would come down from the hills, form ranks and plunge into one another. Let’s just say you would really, really prefer to be at the back of the line. After butchering one another all day, both armies would retreat into the hills for the night to eat, rest and prepare to repeat it all over again the following day.
Each day, as the battle was ready to begin a huge giant of a man in the Philistine army stepped forward and shouted the challenge that they could end the battle through a one-on-one duel if anyone in the Israelite army would face him. The giant, of course, was named Goliath. All of the Israeli soldiers were too terrified to fight him, and so, the bloodbath continued day after day.
David was the youngest son in his family. Three of his older brothers were soldiers in Saul’s army. David’s family had kept him back from fighting but did regularly send him into the soldier’s camp to take food to his brothers. One day, David arrived in camp just as Goliath was calling out his challenge. David pushed his way through the mass of terrified soldiers to get a glimpse of the giant.
As he was watching the huge beast of a man taunting his people he overheard some of the soldiers saying that if anyone killed Goliath King Saul would reward him with great riches and he and his family would never have to pay taxes again and, on top of that, he’d be given the hand of the princess in marriage. David was very excited at the thought of all of those treasures. He asked over and over, “Is it true that the king will give riches and the princess to the one who defeats Goliath?!” All confirmed that that was what the king had said.
David couldn’t get it out of his mind. All he thought about was how great it would be to have that wealth and for his family to be free of the burden of taxes. And oh the princess! He’d heard tales of her beauty, and that she bathed in perfume! He imagined what it would be like to stand near her loveliness, to take her hand, to hold her, and to …..! With his whole mind and heart focused on wanting that outcome he said he would fight Goliath.
His brothers, other soldiers, even the King said he was crazy, just a boy, a shepherd, not a warrior, but David didn’t even really hear them. He had faith in himself and in God.
When Goliath roared his challenge David didn’t so much see the Giant as the lovely prize that waited beyond. Ignoring odds and detractors, he took a rock in his sling, just as he’d done against lions and bears who were going after his family’s sheep, twirled and hurled with the strength of his vision and conviction and toppled the giant.
Perhaps instead of David and Goliath this story ought to be called David and the Princess?!
What if problems aren’t just obstacles we have to overcome, barriers that are delaying us from reaching our dreams, but are actually the very vehicles through which those dreams reach us? Ralph Waldo Emerson advised, “Don’t be pushed by your problems; be led by your dreams.” Perhaps by focusing more on what we want, on our own personal princesses, we can shrink our giants and demons.
I have been running a bit of an experiment. I am schooling myself to think of my goliaths as wee little gnats unworthy of my time and my Princesses as uber-powerful. Do you spend more time focusing on your problems than on your dreams? What is your powerful princess?
By Cylvia Hayes
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