Merging faith with Jesus by Pastor Ron

Facing Giants

It’s do or die this week for the Columbus Blue Jackets as they face the Detroit Red Wings on home ice in the first round of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. I must admit that I’m a bit worried about my team as they face off against the defending Stanley Cup champions. They’ve already lost the first three games in the series, and the way Detroit has been playing, they could easily sweep the series.

Watching the Blue Jackets (in their first playoff series ever) take on the Red Wings (a perennial playoff contender and 10 time Stanley Cup champion) reminds me of the biblical showdown between David and Goliath (recorded in 1 Samuel 17).

Goliath was the feared Philistine champion that taunted the entire Israelite army as he challenged them to send out a warrior to face him in one-on-one combat. The writer of 1 Samuel recounts that the entire Israelite army was paralyzed in fear and not a brave soul was found to challenge Goliath to his duel. Then came David, the young shepherd boy sent to the Israelite camp by his father, Jesse, to bring a care package to his older brothers who were serving in the army. He heard Goliath’s challenge and was bewildered that everyone was too afraid to face the giant. So, what did David do? He announced that he was willing to face Goliath.

Frankly speaking, David was given as good a chance in beating Goliath as the Columbus Blue Jackets were given in even making it into the playoffs this year. Writers for The Hockey News magazine wrote off any chance of this upstart team even making the playoffs. Rick Nash, Columbus’ star player, also enjoyed poking a little fun at his team’s losing reputation when he filmed a commercial for the NHL 2K9 video game showing him day dreaming about hoisting the Stanley Cup in victory. Watch the YouTube video. The Blue Jackets’ chances of making it into the playoffs were considered slim to none. So were David’s when he went off to face Goliath.

While I admit I’d love to watch the Blue Jackets topple the Red Wings and make it all the way to the finals, I, with most Columbus fans I’ve run into, note that the real miracle is that our team made it into the playoffs so that we could face the giant head on. That was the real miracle on that day David faced Goliath. No one had the courage to face the giant except David who proclaimed, “The Lord who delivered me…[in the past] will deliver me…” (vs. 37).

You see, the rest of the army was paralyzed with the same fears that keeps us from confronting giants that stand in our way today. First there’s the fear of failure. We all hate to fail. I know I do. Then there’s the fear of embarrassment. How bad will I get jeered by my friends and neighbors if I should fail? So, what do we do? Most of the time we play it safe, hide behind the pack, and never challenge the giants that stand in our way. I don’t know how many good ideas get squashed or how many bullies get their way in our community, in our churches, in our nation because people are afraid to step out of the crowd, let their voice be heard, and take a chance on toppling giants.

Yet, David could not stay on the sidelines. He faced the giant and proclaimed, “Today…the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel” (vs. 46). Win or lose it didn’t matter. David showed his neighbors that a living faith faced giants head on. Do or die, the Blue Jackets will take the ice and and confound the skeptics. What about you?

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