Fear may be the most common emotion of all. The one who says they have never dealt with fear is fooling themselves and anyone who believes them. Courage isn’t the absence of fear but the willingness to keep going in the face of fear. Without doubt one of the greatest stories of courage ever recorded is the story of a boy named David going out to do battle with the giant Goliath. Goliath was the leader of the Philistine army who had taunted the Israelite army days on end. Imagine what it was like for a whole army that had won numerous battles before and who had been trained to fight, trembling day after day as one man standing over 9 feet tall challenged them send one man out to face him in hand to hand combat. Not a man among them was ready to step forward for the fight.
Then the day came when Jesse sent the youngest son David, still at teenager, to visit his older brothers on the battlefield. He carried them food from home. A few goodies from home were always encouraging to the one fighting away from home. There was the younger brother who loved to talk, to sing and play the harp, when the giant made his daily march to challenge his enemies. “Just send one man out to face me in battle. Whoever wins the fight his people will rule and the one who loses, his people will become the slaves of the other. There is no reason for our whole armies to fight and shed blood. Who will come out to fight me?” David was young. Some would have said he was foolhardy. But he was also experienced. He had been shepherding his father’s sheep and had spent night after night protecting those sheep no matter what enemy came out after them. On one occasion a lion came out to attack the sheep, but David had killed the lion to defend the sheep. On another occasion a bear had attacked the sheep and David had fought and killed the bear. His armor had consisted of a sling and some stones. Like many young boys growing up in that part of the world he had developed his ability with a sling. The rock could be thrown from the sling with such velocity that it would kill whatever animal was being fought. I can’t imagine David out on a dark night with just him and the sheep and his sling not having his heart jump up into his throat when he heard the sound of an animal creeping up on the sheep. What kind of terror would run through your body when you heard a lion roar before his attack? But David never felt alone with the sheep. When he looked back on those days he remembered, “Yes, even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
When Goliath made his rounds, there was David along with his brothers and fellow soldiers. When they trembled in fear of the giant, David was flabbergasted. What were they the army of the Living God doing cowering in fear of the heathen giant? David declared that he would go out and face the giant. They escorted him to Saul, who tried to dress him up as a soldier in his armor but it was too big, untried and uncomfortable. David said he had faced the lion and the bear and God had delivered him with his sling and he would take the same sling to go against the giant. So, with the sling, a bag for stones and The Living God, David went into the valley. As he passed through the creek he chose five smooth stones. As he got closer to the giant he could hear the curses and taunts of the giant. They had sent a boy to do a man’s job. He would feed him to the dogs. David took off running. I’m sure he was afraid. But he wasn’t running away from Goliath. he was running toward him, with the stone in the sling, swinging over his head. As he reached the right distance he let the stone fly. It must have hit with a thud as it sank into the forehead of Goliath. Down came the giant. David stood over him taking his sword from him to remove his head from his body.
Fear when turned into courage doesn’t lead one to run away from the trouble to run to face it. Healthy fear put into perspective does one good. It leads one to respect the strength of the enemy while remembering the Living God who is on our side. The enemy, the devil is a powerful enemy. He is indeed a giant who taunts us day after day. But if we run with God there is no power of the enemy that can hold us back. Courage is fear under control. Courage is remembering who is on our side and knowing we never walk alone.
No one should allow fear to run their life. We serve too big a God to be conquered by our fears.