"This is how we fight."
I saw this battle cry written in the margin of my Bible, so I took a second look.
1 Samuel 17:45-47. Israel. Philistines. David. Goliath. You know the story.
I thought I knew the story, but it turns out God had much more to teach me about the way he equips us for battle.
The Philistines are camped out with their army gathered for war, along with the Israelites, each set on opposite hills separated by a valley. The major difference being the man described as a champion who stands taller than nine feet. Talk about a giant. Yikes.
"For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand." 1 Samuel 17:16
Later on it says that Goliath steps out from the battle lines to shout his usual defiance, and David heard it. When you read the text it's so easy to hear how appalled he was that the Israelite army retreated in fear in the face of Goliath. They lacked faith in their God. They were paralyzed by fear from his daunting stature and torment.
Everyone except for David, that is.
David believed in the strength of the living God. He was confident that the giant was no match for the Lord. Listen to these fighting words:
"You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands." 1 Samuel 17:45-47
Mind you, David hasn't thrown a stone yet. He's staring into the face of Goliath as he declares victory over a battle that has not yet been won in the eyes of the armies on either side.
Uh-ma-zing. I am in awe of his faith.
Just the other night, I was tossing and turning for hours struggling to fall asleep. I felt utterly exhausted and depleted of any sense of will to battle the waves of emotion that swept over me. I wept and prayed and tried every home remedy to put me fast to sleep. I started praying every prayer I could think of, grabbed my holy water, clenched onto a cross and rosary, and got my essential oils diffusing, but still was left in distress in the wee hours of the night.
Finally, in a moment of desperation, I overcame the lie of being an inconvenience or being dramatic, and I texted a sister in Christ who was a few hours behind my time zone. All I said was hello, and her intuition kicked in.
She spoke fighting words to my soul.
"It's a beautiful struggle my dear. I wish I could help more. Wish I could lay on your bed and hold you and brush your hair. Going to pray for you right now, that you feel Mary's motherly embrace and are able to entrust yourself to her care...she who cared for Christ. You are not alone. You are wonderfully made ... God is preparing a feast for you."
Not quite the same tone as David's, but the Holy Spirit knew exactly how to fight this battle through her. Sometimes we have the courage to muster up the strength to speak our own fighting words, and other times, our "David" steps into battle on our behalf. I'm confident the soldiers who witnessed David's act of faith that day never forgot the victory the Lord won for them.
I pray that the Holy Spirit would stir you up in faith to enter into battle with the giants that torment you day after day. Do not put up with the defiance any longer. Do not hesitate to call upon your brothers and sisters in Christ to battle on your behalf, those in heaven and on earth. And may we never forget the power of our living God, the one who saves.
This is how I fight my battles.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3