The first thing I noticed about my son when he was born was the size of his hands. Before he came into our world, all we had known were little girls. Their little hands were all so dainty, their fingers long and delicate. Not this one. He was born with man hands. I remember holding that fresh newborn hand and marveling at how wide it was, feeling deep within that God would grow him to be a mighty man of faith. After enduring many losses, hope was hard to hold onto during my pregnancy with him. Instead, every morning that I woke and felt him moving again, I asked God to keep growing him. I ask God to let him live, to make him healthy and strong, that one day he might be a mighty missionary for the Lord, taking the Gospel into the darkness. It felt less selfish to pray for the man he would be than merely the baby I wanted to keep.
Our boy is turning three soon. He is in that wonderfully hilarious stage where he is the most courageous coward you could ever meet. From the time his bright blue eyes pop open in the morning, he is telling me how he will protect me with his Ninja Turtles sword, making his little voice deeper with each brave vow he makes. However, it wasn't long ago that I found him sitting paralyzed in fear on the couch by his big sister. With those huge eyes, he told me in a quiet, ever so serious little voice, "There is a guy on the porch. He has a gun and he is going to shoot!"
It turns out it was the FedEx guy with a scanner in his hand, but my boy was trying to prepare his little heart for battle just the same.
One night not long ago, he came in on the end of the Bible story I was reading to his sisters. He has a hard time sitting still long enough to hear the lesson in its entirety, so he comes and goes. Flipping through the little book, I asked him if he'd ever heard the story of David and Goliath. I told him how David was a tiny boy who killed a great giant with a single rock. The little stone hurled from a little hand took down a mighty warrior. He hung on my every word. Now, that was a story he could get into. He's referenced it many times since, pointing out the similarities between himself and that little boy, the sheer longing to be that brave glimmering in his eyes.
He has always been animated at home, but shy in public - until now. Now, we are watching him come out of his shell, especially in places like church where he is comfortable with the people he is around. We all took notice this morning at how good he was feeling, running around while we set things up. If I called him down for chasing his sister once, I called him down five times. He was unstoppable and fearless. When I left him in childcare, I was concerned with what he might try with all that extra gusto today.
After service, I was talking with a friend my son doesn't know very well yet. He was still amped up, running around the seats in the auditorium, feeling bulletproof. He hardly gave her a second glance. No matter how fearless he appears to be, he never wanders far from me. I have replayed what happened next one hundred times this evening. In that forced little deep voice, he glanced over his shoulder at my friend with her short dark hair and crisp button-down shirt, never slowed his pace, and proudly said, "I found a giant!"
I grinned back at him, so wide eyed and brave, pretending to be ready to slay a dragon.
Then, he said it again, but this time I realized the hysteria in his voice and the expression on his face had turned from a brave battle cry to absolute terror. "Ohh, I found a giant!!!"
He was crying out to me, but was so unsure of what to do with himself that he didn't know which way to turn. He wanted to run to me so badly, but she was near. Thinking they were playing a game, she had crouched down out of sight at this point and that left him even more undone. The child was terrified and as soon as I realized it, I ran to him and scooped him up.
Sometimes, he will be brave enough to interact with others, then panic if they pick him up or he loses sight of one of us. I thought that was what was going on until I saw my friend rise and heard her laughingly declare, "I am the shortest giant that's ever lived."
She is all of five feet, four inches. I was standing right beside her and I was taller than she was.
He couldn't see any of that from where he was standing.
Of all my children, my son looks the most like me, but the resemblance has never been more striking than it was in that moment. Suddenly, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry for him so I laughed until I cried as I cradled him close and he buried his face in my shoulder.
Always my little warrior, ready to defend me, he had caught a glimpse of what he thought was a giant near his mama and declared that he had found that giant he's been looking to slay. When he heard his own words as looked back over his shoulder as he ran down that sloped auditorium floor, she looked larger than life to him. All his courage left in an instant, and he shrieked, "Ohh, I've found a giant!"
Oh precious one, how many times have I been there?!
Some mornings, I wake and the marching orders for my life are so clear. I rise out of bed with a gusto no one can touch, determined to go forth and slay every last dragon the Lord allows to dare cross my path. I feel more than equipped to face any giant God calls me to face. I think I am unstoppable and fearless... right up until I catch a glimpse of that giant.
Sometimes, I will go so far as I to declare a battlecry against the foe, but the moment I hear my own words and look over my shoulder one more time, my giant becomes bigger than life to me. It's like a switch flips and my courage is instantly transformed into fear. I don't know where to turn or where to run, whether to laugh or cry. I want nothing more than to run into the arms of my Father, but my fear that the giant will pop of nowhere and swallow me whole before I get there keeps me paralyzed and flipping out.
Don't act like you don't know what I am talking about. We all do it.
We stand in church on Sundays and sing those pretty words about being called out upon the waters, keeping our eyes above the waves, and being so brave. But when the waters of life come rushing in, they are nasty and nearly take our feet out from under us. The waves we were singing about were blue, crystal clear, and crashed in at the precise time we expected them to. Not so in real life. We are left gasping for air, treading water until our hearts are pounding and crying out for help until our throats are dry.
And those are just the times when life happens to us.
Other times, we are more like little David. He was the youngest of his brothers, not even allowed to follow them. He was left to tend his father's sheep and to come take his stand in the morning and evening. David's dad sent him to quickly deliver food to his brothers and simply bring home a token from them. While there, he caught a glimpse of a giant, but it was not just any giant. It was his giant. No one else would face him, the hearts of mighty men failed at the sight of him. It was more than David could bear. A fire burned within him to take this giant down. His words were ludicrous to those surrounding him. Surely no one as small and ill-equipped as this shepherd boy would ever be able to take down the giant they all feared. How utterly ridiculous.
Then, David's bold words made their way to the king. That lanky boy stood before royalty and stated his case, declaring how he had struck down both lions and bears who came after his father's sheep, and this foe would be no different. He would take him down, too. (Oh, how Christlike this Old Testament hero was, even and especially when he had no idea.) His case was so compelling, his courage so visible, the king did not argue, but equipped him for battle. David was too little to carry the weight of the armor, so he set it down. He just picked up his staff, the weapon he was most familiar with, and five smooth stones and approached that giant like a man.
We know how the story goes. The unlikely hero, the underdog, the least favored contender won. In this case, the little shepherd boy put the bravest warriors to shame. It took a solitary act of courage to take that giant down. He couldn't carry the weight of the armor, didn't need the blade of a sword, never fired a single bullet. No, the Lord delivered that giant into his hands and he walked away holding his very head.
Most of us will never face a Philistine beast like Goliath. Our giants will not tower over us or actually be capable of giving our flesh to the birds and the beasts. They may not be any taller than our mothers, but when the enemy is at work, he can set our feet on sloping ground and make us believe those giants are going to devour us. It won't matter how determined we were that morning if we listen to the cries of fear over the commands of God. He knows the "flip out" is coming, the precise moment when we will be tempted to switch all our courage over to panic. My giants look different than your giant, but friend, let me tell you one thing for sure: not one of our giants will ever stand as tall as our Father and our Father is ready to run to us the moment we call.
He is still the God that calls the unlikely hero, champions the underdog, equips the least favored contender to win by a landslide. When HE arms us for battle, we put the bravest warriors to shame. A solitary act of courage - a faith the size of a mustard seed - is enough to take the biggest giant down. It won't matter how small we are when He calls, for we will have the favor of the King of Kings. The critics can say whatever they want to, but our Almighty God can do more with one tiny stone than all the kings' men can do with all the artillery in the world. We might not be able to carry the weight of the armor, but He promises to carry us all the way to victory. He has equipped us with familiar weapons and precisely what we need, in Him, to walk away owning that enemy's head.