I have spent the last few weeks pondering—contemplating the battle we endure on a daily basis. The focus of this blog has been on my personal navigation with same sex attraction. We all fight battles as we progress in this life: sin, morality, worthiness (and sometimes even diet coke). I have found acceptance in the fact that these battles offer bumps along our journey but also give us strength. When I think of fighting for a righteous cause I always think of the New Testament’s David and his Goliath.
David, whose name means ‘beloved’ or ‘my beloved,’ has always been a relatable person to me. He enters the Old Testament as a teenager, the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse. Samuel visited David’s father searching for a king to lead Israel and no one, including his father (or 7 brothers), took David serious enough to send him before Samuel. I can relate to David in this situation. I have been discounted by others because of a lack in my ability. I’m confident that other people have been chosen to do things because someone lacked faith in my ability to succeed.
I find empathy with David.
There was a time when Israel went to war with the Philistines, and David was left behind to tend the sheep. It was an easier task. One better suited for a weak and feeble David. Was it because the people felt David wasn’t prepared to battle, or was it because the Israelites knew of David’s weaknesses and disqualified him immediately? Inside of me, the natural man always believes I am being judged and discounted because of my weaknesses. The greater sin is that I sometimes believe them.
I love this story of David:
One day Jesse sent David with food and supplies to the battlefront in the valley of Elah, some ten miles away, to find out also how his sons were doing. David left the sheep in the hands of a keeper, and made the journey.
He arrived among the men just as Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, walked out into the valley between the two contending armies. For forty days the two armies had been at a standoff, and everyday, twice a day, Goliath would come out and taunt and insult the armies of Saul calling for them to send out a man to fight. I guess rather than the two armies to fight, it was a custom of the time for the champion of each army to fight, and let the victor of their fight be the victor of the cause. But no one dared challenge Goliath, and who can blame them [him]? According to our present text, Goliath stood over 9 ½ feet tall. His armor weighed in around 150 pounds. The staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, while the head of it weighed somewhere between 12 and 26 pounds. He was a part of the feared race of the Anakim and a warrior trained from his childhood.
Well, David heard the blasphemy of the giant and was incensed, especially when the armies of Israel around him cowered in fear.
“… who is this uncircumcised Philistine,” he said, “that he defy the armies of the living God?”
(1 Samuel 17:26)
When David’s brothers heard him, they were angry and scolded him for pride, naughtiness and neglect of his duty at home. David’s words reached the king, and David was brought before Saul.
“Let no man’s heart fail because of him;” David said, “thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
“… Thou are not able to go against this Philistine … ,“ Saul said, “for thou art but a youth …” (1 Samuel 17:33)
David pleaded for the chance to fight. Finally – finally the king said, “… Go, and the Lord be with thee.” (1 Samuel 17:37)
When David entered the field, Goliath was insulted that they would send a mere boy. He cursed David by his gods, and threatened to feed his flesh to the birds.
David’s response to the giant allows us a glimpse into his great heart, wherein was the source of his power. He said, “… Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts … This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; …” (1 Samuel 17:45-46)
Enraged, the giant charged, David rushed to meet him, drawing from his shepherd’s purse was a smooth stone, which he slung with a practiced aim. When he released that stone, it flew true and buried itself in the forehead of the giant, dropping him to the ground. David ran, pounced on him, drew out the massive sword, and with it slew the arrogant Philistine. The horrified Philistine army scattered with Israel in hot pursuit. It was not just a victory; it was a rout.
I love this story. It proves to me that if the cause is just, and there is faith in the God of Israel, what does it matter who scorns you or insults you?
Now, why do I tell this story? There are plenty of struggling men reading this today. Together we are navigating life as a Latter-day Saint with a same sex attraction. To you I say, ‘Welcome to the field, David, your Goliath is waiting.’ I believe in you.