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hope for churches in stress


Sometimes we face challenges far beyond our capabilities. At these times, it is good to remember biblical heroes who prevailed against great odds.

The most famous of all underdog stories is David and Goliath. As the story opens, Goliath dares any Israelite warrior to fight him in single combat.

Everyone, Philistines and Israelites alike, was sure that in close range combat, Goliath, with his immense size and strength, was unbeatable.

David challenged him with a slingshot.

From a human perspective, the decisive factor in David’s victory was a brilliant shift in strategy. He confounded Goliath by speed and surprise.

Far more important was David’s superior training in what the apostle Paul, many years later, called the “weapons of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 6:7).

To protect a flock of sheep in the wilderness, David most likely practiced long and hard to become highly accurate with a slingshot, a practical skill.

Caring for sheep was a small assignment (1 Samuel 17:28). Yet when David encountered—and overcame—a lion and a bear (1 Samuel 17:34-37), he was being readied for the much larger assignment of protecting Israel.

And David knew the nature and power of God so well because, alone in the wilderness, playing his lyre, he was singing about the Living God, all the while coming to know him intimately (1 Samuel 17:45-47).

These same attributes are readily accessible to us. By the Spirit, we have a practical gifting (1 Peter 4:10). We gain transferable insights and skills in “small” responsibilities (Luke 16:10). And by God’s Word we get a firm grasp on the enduring truth about God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

When we face our giants, even the most intimidating, we can defeat them, like David, by practiced skill in using the “weapons of righteousness.”

You may want to read three more underdog stories. When we face challenges beyond our capabilities, it good to remember biblical heroes who prevailed against great odds. Moses, Gideon, and Paul all knew that God works in ways that confound our expectations.

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