And how can you use it to share truth and inspire more resilience in your kids? Read here to find out…
This week marks our first week of camp at Hopetown. We’ve had high school kids at camp this week. And our hope is that what we’ve been learning might be something you could share with the teenagers you love. Read it together. Talk about it. Ask questions. And even throw stones…we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
This week at camp has been the first week ever where we have watched three professional sports games. If you’re from Nashville or know that we are, then you can probably guess which ones…the Stanley Cup. And, of course, Melissa, our resident Bible teacher, who has a gift of using all things to bring truth, has used the Preds…namely, the way the Preds fight in their games. She’s not only talked about the way the Preds fight, but also a young, shepherd boy named David.
You know the story, from 1 Samuel 17.
Goliath was a Philistine, and a giant. His army was facing off with the Israelites. And every morning and night for forty days, he came out to shout at, threaten and taunt the Israelite army. Saul and all of the Israelites were “terrified and lost all hope.” Vs. 17:11
The next sentence in The Message is “Enter David.” You remember David…the youngest of eight brothers. He was sent to tend the sheep while the other brothers went to war. He not only was relegated to be a shepherd, but was given the task of carrying food back and forth to his big brothers. God, however, had something different in mind. He chose David to fight Goliath.
Enter David. God chose David to fight the giant.
Fast forward a few scenes later. King Saul is trying to help prepare David for battle. He outfits him with his own tunic, his armor and his helmet. It’s all too much for David. His response to Saul? “’I can’t even move with this stuff on me. I’m not used to this.” And then, he took it all off. Then David took his shepherd’s staff, selected five smooth stones from the brook and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s pack, and with his sling in his hand approached Goliath.” Vs. 38-40. And then, as we know, David took him down.
First, he removed the armor.
Next, he walked out to that giant.
And, finally, he fought the giant and won.
Let’s start with the armor. We all have it. We put on armor, of one kind or another, to protect ourselves. We used the Enneagram to help us discover what kind of protection each of our personalities might have a tendency to use. The problem with armor is, just like David’s, it often doesn’t really work the way we thought it would. It’s uncomfortable—actually, it’s more than uncomfortable. Rather than protecting us, it hinders and even hurts us. It hurts us and others and keeps us from being who we really are—who God has uniquely designed us to be. It keeps us from moving into the redeemed parts of our personalities. We’ll hit the highlights of those, in case you’re an Enneagram aficionado. If not, we’d highly suggest you get a copy of The Road Back to You. It’s a great way to understand and connect with everyone in your family, particularly teenagers.
In essence, God doesn’t call everyone to be just the same. We all have unique, God-given personalities. David was not suited for Saul’s armor. It was Saul’s. David was called to take that armor off and to step into who God had uniquely made him to be…smooth stones and all.
And, as the song says, for every Goliath, there’s a stone. Or, for every stone, there’s a Goliath. We’ve all got them. We talked about the giants in the kids’ lives tonight. One person’s giant might be sadness over a divorce. Losing a parent. Some type of addiction. Hurt over lost friendships or relationships. Anxiety. Depression. Giants are the things that, like the Israelites, can cause us to become dismayed and give up hope.
That’s where the Preds come in. Actually, that’s where Jesus comes in, but by way of the Nashville Predators. They’re actually a lot like David. Nobody would have thought they would have gotten this far in the season. Everybody in the playoffs seemed bigger and better. But those guys sure can fight. And do. It’s the thing I think of the most when I think of hockey. That and the cheers of “It’s all your fault. It’s all your fault.” We have those voices in our heads, too…the times we tell ourselves it’s all our fault, and the times we tell ourselves it’s all someone else’s. In either case, it can take us out of the fight. But that’s not what God says.
Enter David. Or William. Or Ashley. Or your name. Or your teenager’s.
He calls you to take off your self-protective armor. He knows that giant feels and likely is bigger than you. He also knows that you’re living in a culture that seems to have lost more hope than ever before…and sometimes even makes it look cool. But we need more kids who are willing to give hope. We need David’s and William’s and Ashley’s who will take off their armor, name their giants and fight. You’re going to have giants. Don’t be surprised by them. Name them. But David didn’t just walk to fight Goliath in the story. He ran. David trusted God.
In Psalm 18, the very same David says, “You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop, with my God I can scale a wall.”
David trusted God. He took off his armor. He named his giant and went out to fight him in his own David way. David knew God had turned his darkness to light. And God used David to bring light and victory and hope to the Israelites.
We ended our night tonight by naming our giants and actually throwing stones into the lake ourselves, symbolizing our own fight. You can throw some stones of your own, wherever you are. Enter David. Enter __________. God can and wants to use you. He wants to give you the confidence to fight your giants with your unique stones and His light, so that He can use you to bring light to others. There is always a reason to hope. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” John 16:33