Everyone has heard the story of David and Goliath. The shepherd boy, David, went to check on his brothers who were fighting in Israel’s army. He arrived on the battlefield in time to see and hear the Philistine champion, Goliath, insulting his country and God. David was furious and wanted to know why someone had not already killed this loud mouthed Philistine. Problem was, no one felt equipped to handle the job. Goliath was over nine feet tall, was covered in metal armor, had a shield as large as any normal man, and carried a spear the size of a small tree. David didn’t see what all the fuss was about and said he would take care of Goliath.
When David volunteered to fight Goliath, the obvious question was a very legitimate one; how was this boy going to fight? He was just a boy; he had no military experience, no military training, no armor, and no weapons of war. His only training was as a shepherd; his only tools those of the shepherd’s trade, rod, staff, and sling. His only experience was keeping wild animals from the sheep. But David realized one very important point which was lost by all others he encountered that day. The battle wasn’t David’s, it was the Lord’s. God would be the one fighting that day. He would equip David with everything that was needed to defeat the enemy.
Conventional wisdom said to use a spear to bring down the giant and a sword to finish him. God provided a sling and some stones but they worked better than any spear. David launched one from his sling and Goliath fell to the ground. Now he needed a sword. David had an opportunity to carry his own sword but carrying it would have hindered him during the battle. God provided a sword when David needed it. David used Goliath’s own sword to remove the giant’s head and the battle was over. God not only equipped David with the tools he needed, He provided them precisely when they were needed. His equipment and timing are always perfect.
In my quest to become a writer, I have read the works of other writers and some of the experiences they have encountered along their journey. When I read of their passion for writing and the fact that many have been writing in some form or another since they were children, I feel wholly inadequate to even attempt the process. They all appear like great soldiers of war, full of knowledge, wisdom, and ability, ready to take pen (or keyboard) in hand and conquer the great giants of the writing world. I look like little David who has just arrived on the scene and has been hanging out in the pasture with a bunch of sheep.
Have I lived a life of daring and adventure? No, but I can fly airplanes, little ones at least. I know what it’s like to soar among the clouds and look down on God’s wonderful creation. Have I been famous like a rock star? No, but I was privileged to tour with a performing group for a couple of summers. I know what it’s like to live on a bus, be in a different bed every night, load and unload equipment each day, and see God work in amazing ways when you trust in Him to provide. Have I braved the jungles of Africa as a trail blazing missionary? No, but I have taken a few trips. From New England to Florida to California to Japan I have built churches, refurbished buildings, witnessed to drug dealers and users and told preschool children about Jesus. Have I been a pastor of a great metropolitan congregation with 10,000 members? No, but I have been involved in senior ministry for twenty-three years. I know what it’s like to befriend those whom many have forgotten simply because they’re old. And I’ve seen firsthand how we all need Jesus regardless of our age.
Do I know how it feels to work for a company for twenty years only to be cast aside for no good reason? No, but I have lost several jobs, for various reasons. I know what it’s like to be lied about and betrayed by those I trusted. Do I know the pain of losing a spouse or child to circumstances or disease? No, but I have lost loved ones. I know what it’s like to have your family touched by AIDS, Cancer, Alcoholism, and Alzheimer’s. I also know the pain of having family members who have no use for God or His grace.
God equips us with time, talents, training, and trials to use in our writing. And He gives each one of us specific bits and pieces which fit our part in His plans. I am not equipped to write the things that others write but since I am not called to fight their battles, I don’t have to be. I just have to recognize the tasks that God has given me, understand that the battles are His and not mine, and trust Him to equip me to join Him in His work where ever He puts me.
What do you see in your shepherd’s pouch? A spear, javelin, or sword like some of the other soldiers or just a few small stones? Well, must be a giant to slay somewhere. Time to get in the battle.