Yes. Goliath would qualify. Goliath is bigger than me. In fact, I am not even as big as David. Sometimes I wish I could have been just a bit bigger than I am. But I usually come to my senses and know that I could never measure up to a giant, and I would prefer to avoid a fight any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.
Do you ever feel as if you are just not enough? Enough to tackle the tasks at-hand? Enough to do your part in a relationship? Enough to meet the metrics of performance set by your supervisor or department? Enough to be the kind of parent (or child, or relative) you always thought you would be, or should be? Enough to please God? Enough to make it through the day?
I do. I meet too-bigness every day. Giants. Mountains. Valleys. Challenges. Expectations. I am neither David nor Goliath. David became a King. I am not even looking in such a direction; in fact, I am actually looking toward increased obscurity after retirement. Goliath took one well-placed stone between the eyes; he fell backwards dead (Eli did the same, sans stone). We know that God gave Eli fair warning. We don’t know if God warned Goliath, or if Goliath was even listening. But both were brought to that outcome none of us shall escape.
And that is one condition I KNOW that I do not feel enough to meet: Death.
Sometimes I wonder if wrapped up in ALLof my fears, like some kind of shroud I can see through only dimly, is the one which comes when we near our three-score and ten. (Yes, I am getting to that mark, and will make that one and more, God willing).
What do you fear? Where do you find solace? Solace is an old word. It is related to words like “soothe” and “solution” and “consolation”. It is what one person can do for another. Sometimes even a pet can provide solace. But as good as pets and people are at consoling, neither are the Author of it.
When I wake up each day, I have a choice to make. Am I going to get up and start looking for Goliath? Or am I going to step toward the table prepared for me, that one that is in the presence of my enemies. That may sound pessimistic. But I know this to be true: I am going to face enemies. I may have a guardian angel, but God provides that blessed one on my behalf because I need God’s help to make it through the day. I am going to face enemies. I have watched enough news (and seen enough of life itself) to be very familiar with the depravity of the world; I know for certain that there will be some challenges for me to overcome, and many of them derive their power from the pit of Hell.
So back to that table. The Lord prepares the table, each and every day. Some of us associate it with a sacrament; others of us consider it a symbolic way of provision; and still others of us just know that whatever we face, God is going to provide what we need. Some of us think of all three; and others of us think of still more. What is on your table?
Take what is on your table — the one prepared for you by the Author of Tables and Food and Sacraments and Life and Faith and Hope and Love and….– and eat it. Take it in. And there will be no challenge in your life that you won’t get through, and on the other side find that the God of the Mountain is the God of the Valley, the God of the King still rules over the greatest obstacles and threats this world can bring our way.
At the Disciples College and the Mission for Biblical Literacy, we try to offer encouragement to someone, some ministry partner, or some congregation, each and every day. This summer, we had a most inspirational week of Bible School for a large and energetic group of orphans in Armenia. We also had a solid cohort of graduate students in our Disciples of Christ History and Polity course (with registration for Fall just around the corner). Our critical ministries to children in Haiti moved into new levels of support from donors. July found us in a new and improved campus, where we are still getting settled. And of course August brings us back to our regular Campus Ministry — Disciples on Campus in Athens, GA, and Statesboro, GA. We have a growing number of students enrolling in online courses. And for all of this, we continue to receive generous support — including a major gift of $10,000 from one of our partners in ministry, a congregation which sadly had to close its doors.
Please keep The Reverend John Novikoff (MBL President Emeritus) and his wife, Margot, in your prayers as they have faced some increased health challenges this summer. And kindly let us know that you are reading our blog and tell others about our ministries.
Robert L. Harris, Ph.D., President