Have you ever felt like you don’t have what it takes?

Have you ever felt like you don’t have what it takes?

I feel that way a lot of the time.

Sometimes it’s because of a deficit in my education or skillset. Sometimes it’s because I get caught in the trap of comparing myself to others.

But there are times when it’s something else. Something external. An obstacle blocking my way, something much bigger than me. Something gigantic which threatens to destroy me, leaving me feeling powerless, weak and unable to move forward. 

If you have felt like this, then you are not alone.

The army of Israel faced a literal giant called Goliath. He taunted them daily with intimidation and threats, preventing them from moving forward. Then on day 40, enter David, a young shepherd who volunteered to face this ‘uncircumcised Philistine’. 

He was given the option to use the king’s armour yet instead he chose a slingshot, some stones and his shepherds staff.

The first two I understand. You could do some decent damage with a slingshot and a stone, but why choose a stick over a sword? How useful could a shepherd’s staff be when facing a giant? 

A shepherd’s staff was something a shepherd used to lean on during those long days looking out over the sheep, but it also served another purpose. 

There was a time when a lion attacked David’s sheep. Rather than run, he stood his ground, faced the lion and killed it. 

So to remember that day, David took a knife and carved a notch in his staff. It served as a reminder of the victory God had given him that day. So on those long days in isolation, while looking out over the sheep, as he leant on his staff, his finger would find the notches and he would remember that moment in time. 

It served as a reminder that God was with him. 

He did the same thing when a bear tried to take one of his sheep. He killed it and added another notch to his staff.

There was another day where the prophet Samuel anointed him to be the next king of Israel. That night, David added yet another notch to his staff, one that reminded him that God had a purpose for his life.

So now standing in front of this giant, with a slingshot in one hand and his staff in the other, David stood his ground as Goliath spewed out threats and intimidation. But he wasn’t listening. 

Instead, with his staff firmly in hand, he ran his fingers over the wood, feeling the notches and reminding himself that he wasn’t standing there alone. Almighty God was with him. 

The same God who helped him kill a bear and a lion, the same God who anointed him the next king of Israel. It filled him with the courage he needed to not only face his adversary, but defeat him and win a great victory for Israel.

Just like David, we will all face a giant at some point in our life. 

Cancer. Loneliness. Rejection. Debt. Unemployment. Discouragement. These are just the names of some I have had to face.

Maybe you are well acquainted with some of these giants yourself or maybe yours had a different name. 

Maybe you are standing on the battlefield right now, face to face with your Goliath.

Pick up your shepherd’s staff and run your fingers over the wood to feel for those notches. Remind yourself of those times, however small they may be, where God was with you and gave you victory. Remember how Almighty God never left your side and remind yourself that the same God who was with you back then, is with you today. 

You are never alone. 

Let that fill you with courage as you stand your ground and then watch your giant fall.

He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine. 1 Samuel 17.40 (NLT)


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