I have always been fascinated with history! I like trying to get inside people’s heads and contemplating what was racing through their minds at the precise moment that their rendezvous with fame started. What was General Lee thinking about on July 3? What was Eisenhower feeling on June 6, 1944? Scripture is no different as I read in 1 Samuel 17 about the historical events surrounding David and Goliath. The theme for Lutheran Schools Week is “Upon this Rock,” and I am fascinated by the stones mentioned in 1 Samuel 17:40: “Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistines.”
While many in the army of Israel saw Goliath as too big to beat, David saw him as too big to miss with the stone from the stream. How about us in 2017? Where do we find stones today to face the Goliaths in our life and times? Each of us will face Goliaths—those large and seemingly unbeatable problems that perplexed people in the Old Testament and challenge our faith today. These may not be ten-foot-tall giants but, instead, things like rejection by a trusted friend, a loved one with a terminal illness, a relationship that was intended for forever that no longer will endure, and all the other ways Satan works to discourage and disillusion us.
Lutheran Schools were that streambed that equipped me to handle the Goliaths of today. My teachers supported my parents in sharing a scriptural perspective. Every time we looked at Psalm 23 at Bethany Lutheran School in Milwaukee, God was preparing me for my dad’s battle with cancer in seventh grade and his ultimate death right after my freshmen year in high school. God was with my dad and family as we walked through the valley of the shadow of death. His presence assured us that His goodness and love were still available for us. Lutheran School teachers reminded me that I was part of God’s family and the Father lavished his love on me (1 John 3:1) when life’s disappointments sought to eclipse the joy found in Christ. In Romans 5:4, Paul reminded me that “Hope does not disappoint us,” which helped me face the Goliath of physical ailments and a loss of stamina a few years ago. My family of believers, my brothers and sisters in Christ, have often encouraged me, comforted me, listened to me, and prayed for me to remind me that I am a child of God. God’s love is lavished on me through those Christ-filled relationships! When my brother died, the shortest verse in scripture, “Jesus wept,” (John 11:35) equipped me to know that the God Who created the universe understood how I felt.
Parents send children to Lutheran schools because they are safe, full of great people, and teach about a God who equips us to handle life and experience peace. Goliaths are still roaming our world but many children, like David at the stream, find their smooth stones in classrooms led by a Lutheran teacher who directly supports Christian parents in teaching a biblical worldview. May God equip those teachers to experience a God so big that His power eclipses those common Goliaths found on our life’s journey.
Photo (c) Adam-F/Lightstock