David knows he is at the end of his life and talks about not what he had accomplished but those things he had intended to accomplish. He intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant. David had expected to dedicate his final years to building a shrine to God. Preparations were made but his intentions did not happen. Max says a conjunction, “but” happened: “Conjunctions operate as the signal lights of sentences. Some, such as “and” are green. Others, such as “however” are yellow. A few are red. Sledgehammer red. They stop you. David got a red light.” God told David that he would not build the home for the ark because of his warring and bloodshed, but his son Solomon would build it.
We all have “but God’ moments in our lives. The question is what we do with them. Max tells the story of Willem. Willem’s passion was to serve people as a minister. He moved to the coalfields of southern Belgium to begin his service. A mining disaster injured many of the workers, so he threw himself into nursing and feeding these people while ignoring his own needs. He wore old, tattered clothes and lived in a simple hut. He gave his salary to the people to improve their lives.
Willem’s superior came to visit, and Willem’s lifestyle shocked the church official. He told him that this was not the proper appearance for a minister and dismissed Willem from the ministry. He was devasted because all he wanted was to build a church and serve people to honor God.
David faced his disappointment with turning the “but God” into a “yet God”. Even though he was not allowed to build the shrine to God, David said “yet” God has provided for me my whole life. His attitude was: Who am I to complain?”
David trusted God.
Willem in spite of his hurt and anger stayed the coal village not knowing where to turn. He noticed an old coal miner bending beneath an enormous weight of coal and begin to sketch the weary figure. Although Willem did not know it he discovered his true calling.
Max closes the chapter:
“Not the robe of clergy, but the frock of an artist.”
“Not the pulpit of a pastor, but the palette of a painter.”
“Not the ministry of words, but of images. The young man the leader would not accept became an artist the world could not resist Vincent Willem van Gogh.”
“His “but God” became a “yet God”.
“Who’s to say yours won’t become the same?”
Max opens this chapter: “He vies for the bedside position, hoping to be the first voice you hear. He covets your waking thoughts, those early pillow-born emotions. He awakens you with words of worry, stirs you with thoughts of stress. If you dread the day before you begin your day mark it down: your GIANT has been by your bed.”
Your giants stay with you almost every moment of the day. They throw doubts at you about most everything. How do you face your Goliaths? By facing God first!
Max offers this thought: “Focus on giants----you stumble. Focus on God----your giants stumble.”
David selected five smooth stones for his sling shot when he went to face Goliath. Max relates these five stones to the “five stones” in our lives to help us face our giants:
- The Stone of the Past;
- The Stone of Prayer;
- The Stone of Priority;
- The Stone of Passion;
- The Stone of Persistence.
1. Prior to David facing Goliath in battle, he was responsible for overseeing Saul’s sheep. He killed a bear and a lion that were after the sheep. When David volunteered to face Goliath, he reminded Saul of these past deeds. He remembered that God had enabled him to kill both animals. Max gives this encouragement: “Catalog God’s successes. Has he not walked you through high waters? Proven to be faithful? Write today’s worries in sand. Chisel yesterday’s victories in stone. Pick up a stone from the past.”
2. Throughout David’s ordeals especially before facing Goliath, he prayed. When David prayed in preparation, God blessed him but at the times he did not pray like seducing Bathsheba he was not in favor with God. “God will keep in perfect peace all who trust in God, whose thoughts are fixed on God.” Isaiah 26:3 MSG.
Max comments: “Invite God’s help. Pick up the stone of prayer.”
3. Max says: “See your struggle as God’s canvas. On it, he will paint his multicolored supremacy. Your cancer is God’s chance to flex his healing muscles. Your sin is God’s opportunity to showcase his grace. See your struggles as God’s canvas.” Make God your priority and watch him work.
4. With great passion, David ran toward his giant. Max writes: “David ran towards his giant. Do the same! What good has problem-pondering gotten you? You’ve stared so long you can number the hairs on Goliath’s chest. Has it helped? No. Listing hurts won’t heal them. Itemizing problems won’t solve them. Categorizing rejections won’t remove them. David lobotomized the giant because he emphasized the Lord. Pick up the stone of passion.
5. Goliath had four brothers who might have decided to act David. He had four extra stones in that case. He was persistent in his preparation. David was not going to give up.
Max closes the chapter with this: “Imitate David. Never give up. One prayer might not be enough. One day or month of resolve might not suffice. You may get knocked down a time or two … but don’t quit!
Facing Your Giants – Max Lucado – 2006 – Thomas Nelson Publishing – Used by Permission