When I was in elementary school, our playground was an adventure. Sandboxes were made out of the giant tires from those huge dump trucks at construction sites. We had tunnels that were large, concrete sewer culverts covered with dirt. We had balance beams made out of telephone poles. We even had a giant fort made out of 6×6’s. We didn’t have mulch or rubber chips to fall on, we had rocky dirt. I’m amazed that more kids didn’t leave recess on a stretcher, but kids must have been tougher back then.
Like any school playground, our playground had its share of bullies. We didn’t just have one bully, we had a whole gang of bullies. They were like an axis of evil right there in the schoolyard. They lurked in the shadows looking to cause distress for unsuspecting children. One day, they had wreaked enough havoc. One of my friends called them out and challenged them to an all-out war. There on that playground, mano y mano, the good guys versus the bad guys. Right after school – the “high noon” of elementary school – we would face off for the fight of the century. The only thing that could have made it more surreal would have been tumbleweeds rolling across the scene while the theme to “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” played in the background. My friends and I showed up, ready to rumble.
But something was missing. The bad guys never showed. Either they got in trouble (which was their custom) and had to stay after school, or they chickened out. Either way, we won the day without a single punch being thrown and the axis of evil was exposed. From that day forward, they would no longer be the terror of the playground. There was a new sheriff in town!
On that day, we faced our giants and won.
As I have gotten older, my giants have changed faces many times. There are some days that I long for the giant of the schoolyard bully because he was nothing in comparison to some of the giants shouting at me today. The Goliath’s of adulthood are much more fearsome than the giants of childhood. In Facing Your Giants, Max Lucado reminds us,
“Your Goliath doesn’t carry sword or shield; he brandishes blades of unemployment, abandonment, sexual abuse, or depression. Your giant doesn’t parade up and down the hills of Elah; he prances through your office, your bedroom, your classroom. He brings you bills you can’t pay, grades you can’t make, people you can’t please, whiskey you can’t resist, pornography you can’t refuse, a career you can’t escape, a past you can’t shake, and a future you can’t face. You know well the roar of Goliath.”
Our tendency is to face off with our giants, terrified by what seems to be their invincibility. Our giants usually seem ten feet tall and bulletproof. But the truth is that even the greatest of giants have a chink in their armor that is readily exposed by laser-sharp accuracy of the hand of a holy God. If you face your giants alone, you will most assuredly be defeated. But when our giants are faced in the strength of our Lord, “Then all the world will know…that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s.” My prayer for you is that God might fill your life with the stones needed to slay some of your giants this week!