Problems exist in nearly every area of life: family, school, money, careers and relationships. The longer we live, the more problems we’ll face. Learning to handle life’s problems is absolutely essential to our health and happiness, peace of mind and spiritual well-being.
Most difficulties we encounter are little more than small disruptions in our daily routines. Others are more challenging and can cause increased pain and suffering. Then there are the really big ones—problems so immense that they tower over us like giants, threatening to destroy us! These troubles can be quite intimidating, promising to crush us if we buckle under their weight.
How about you? Do you feel that your trials are getting the best of you? Are you tired and battle-weary? Do you just want to escape from your problems? If so, don’t lose heart! There is a way to slay the giants!
The Apostle Paul epitomizes the attitude we need if we are to successfully conquer our worst problems. He was inspired to write: “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9).
There are two ways we can approach giants: We can run toward them, or away from them. We can flee in fear, or we can take the positive approach of faith to our problems. The Bible gives us examples of people who took each approach and reaped the consequences. The word of God gives us the keys both to failure and success!
First, let’s look at a method of facing problems that never works. In Numbers 13 and 14 we have the example of those sent to spy out the land of Canaan. God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, and they stood at the door to the Promised Land. At this point, God spoke to Moses commanding him to send spies into the land He was giving Israel (Numbers 13:1–2). After 40 days they returned (v. 25). Their report acknowledged that Canaan was everything God promised—a place flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:23–27). Nevertheless, there was a “downside”—they lost sight of God’s promises and focused on their physical limitations and human weaknesses. The people dwelling in Canaan were strong, with large and fortified cities, they lamented (v. 28). And, the more they thought about it, the bigger and bigger these problems seemed to grow! Finally, they ended their dismal report by saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants… and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight…” (vv. 32–33). They viewed their situation as hopeless! They concluded that what God promised was impossible. “Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept” (Numbers 14:1). Of the twelve spies sent to search out the land, only Caleb and Joshua fearlessly insisted that God would indeed give them the victory.
We must not make the Israelites’ mistake and allow ourselves to cave under the pressure of our problems. While we may indeed be outnumbered and outmatched, we must never forget that God is our Deliverer. The Israelites limited God by taking a negative, faithless, cowardly approach to confronting their “giants.”
But, there is another way to deal with giants, one which can successfully defeat even the biggest problems we face.
It is likely that you have heard or read the story of David and Goliath sometime in your life. Amazingly, David was only a teenager when God used him to do what seemed impossible. God used him to literally slay a giant! What were the keys to his success, and how can we use them to overcome our “giants”? Let’s see how David did it.
When we read the story, we do not find David fearfully trembling in the presence of his monstrous foe. Humanly speaking, David was no match for the giant he faced. Goliath stood almost ten feet tall, or three meters (1 Samuel 17:4–7). His coat of bronze mail alone weighed about 125 pounds. His spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the iron spearhead weighed a whopping 17 pounds! Goliath was one enormous mass of muscle and hate! He had been a warrior from his youth (v. 33). David, on the other hand, was a youth and a simple shepherd. Had David looked only at the colossal physical adversary that confronted him, he would not have had such confidence and peace of mind.
David’s bold approach to facing a giant is one we should take when facing big issues. David knew who his Deliverer was, and reaffirmed this truth in one of his Psalms: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). God had seen him through life-threatening situations before (1 Samuel 17:34–37), and he knew God would see him through this one, too. David knew that facing Goliath was the right solution to the problem. The giant needed to go. Somebody had to have the courage to confront this Philistine who opposed the armies of the living God.
We can have this same confidence and peace of mind, even when confronted with life’s biggest challenges (2 Timothy 1:7). God wants us to learn to put our trust and confidence in Him. In times of need, we must learn to patiently and faithfully wait on God (Psalm 27:14).
Another key to success is preparation. David prepared for the encounter. He was an expert with a sling. And even then, he chose five smooth stones—not just one. Whether the extra four were for Goliath or others he would face afterward, he was prepared, and circumstances always favor the prepared! So, how can we prepare for spiritual warfare? Read Ephesians 6:10–17, which presents the spiritual armor that should equip us when we go to war.
There is another key to becoming a giant-killer. David did his part. When we face trials and tests, God requires us to do our due diligence! David had a part to play in this story—he acted in faith. In James 2:17 we are told “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” And, in James 1:22, we are instructed to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only.” David literally ran into battle! He placed a stone in his sling, charged toward Goliath, and let fly with all of his strength. The stone hit its target, and the giant came crashing down (1 Samuel 17:47–49)! Are we people of action? Do we confront problems directly? Putting things off or procrastinating is easy. Sometimes people ignore difficulties altogether, and even try running away from them. This approach never works. The truth is, our problems won’t go away—and they often become bigger and bigger, until dealt with. It’s important to get into the habit of slaying the giants that confront us instead of running away.
David was victorious in defeating a giant because he followed these basic principles. David took a fearless, faith-filled approach to facing his problems. He knew that if God was for him, not even an actual giant could defeat him. David also prepared for battle. He had spent years developing the talents God had given him, and he wisely prepared for battle by bringing five good stones. Finally, he did the right thing. David acted to do what was necessary to bring an end to the problem.
There is no problem—great or small—that God will not help us with if we ask Him. He is ready and eager to deliver us. May God help you slay the giants in your life!