Overcoming Giants in Your Life
What a difference a week can make in our lives. I was scheduled to travel to Mesa, Arizona last week to work on our construction project there. The day before I was to leave our lives changed forever.
A little over a week ago, Hazel, our 2 ½-year-old, red-headed, spunky, precocious granddaughter, who is so full of life, was taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. A week ago on Saturday, we found out that our sweet little Hazel was diagnosed with pre-b acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Of course, our hearts are broken, and it rocked our foundation to its very core.
Since it was detected early and she is young, the prognosis for recovery is good, but the thought of Hazel having to suffer through two years of chemo treatments is difficult to grasp and consider. It certainly will be a major change in our lives and especially in the lives of her parents Elizabeth and Nat Miller and Hazel’s three older siblings Paul, Gideon, and Aurora. It is hard to process, especially for one so young, but we are certain that God is in control of this situation as He is in all of our lives. We will be much more involved with Elizabeth, Nat, and the grandkids’ lives as we assist and we all adjust to a life that is no longer what our normal was.
Fortunately, Nat’s parents also live locally and are very involved with the grandkids. We would ask you to pray for Hazel and her tribe, and also for us as grandparents that we would have the wisdom, insight, and understanding to make prudent choices and be able to help wherever it is needed.
Both sets of grandparents spent all of the last week cleaning and sanitizing their home in preparation of Hazel’s return after the first 8 days of solid chemo treatments. We finished just a few hours prior to Hazel’s return.
I had the privilege to speak at church this past Sunday and had chosen the topic of “Conquering Your Giants” about a month earlier, since there were several in the church that are going through difficult health issues along with other struggles. Little did I know when I chose this topic that there would be such a huge giant in my own life. This week’s Wisdom Note includes some excerpts of the message from Sunday. I trust that you can apply them in your own life.
In Numbers 13 shortly after the Israelites left the bondage in Egypt during the exodus, they were about to conquer the inhabitants of the Promised Land. Moses sent 12 spies into the land to assess the situation. Two spies came back ready to move forward, which were Caleb and Joshua, the other 10 were scared to move forward and disagreed with them. In Numbers 13:31-33 they said, “But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. ‘We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!’ So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: ‘The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!'”
Some 425 years later we see a small 15-year-old shepherd boy David had the opposite view when he attacked and killed the Philistine giant leader Goliath with just a sling and a stone. In 1 Samuel 17:48-51 we read, “As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword. Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they turned and ran.”
In the Bible passages above the Israelites faced literal real giants, but the true giants that they needed to conquer were not the external giants that they could see, but the internal giants of fear, doubt, and lack of faith in a good and gracious God.
We all have giants in our lives, not literal 10’ giants but they are just as big, just as real, just as scary, and we feel like grasshoppers when we see them. Those giants can take the form of unemployment, financial pressures, drink, drugs, pornography, relationship issues, personal health issues, or even health issues of someone we love.
So let me ask you – what is your giant? More importantly though is the question, how can you conquer your giant?
When I chose this topic several weeks ago, little did I know that just a week ago our family would be facing a giant that would rock our world to its core. A situation that would set into motion an upheaval in our lives, which will impact us and change our lives from this point forward.
It is one thing to see the giants that others are facing and think, yes, that is big but really not grasp the magnitude of just how big that giant is to that person. It is quite another thing to be facing the giant yourself and feeling that you are just a grasshopper in its sight, especially when that giant is not a 9.5’ behemoth but is a set of microscopic cells that are out to destroy the life of your 2.5-year-old fiery red-headed granddaughter who is so full of life.
While the prognosis is very good the word Leukemia or blood cancer strike a real fear in our hearts. Especially knowing that it is a long, at least two year, treatment regimen that will further destroy her little body before restoring it to health. Observing this and knowing what she is going through will be very difficult and she will not understand.
When our grandson Kip was told that Hazel was in the hospital because she was ill, he was told Granny and Gramps were going to be there also. He thought about it and told his mom, Hazel Basil will be okay, Granny & Gramps are there. For me, one of the worst things is to realize that there is nothing that Gramps can do to fix her situation.
Many of you are facing your own giant issues daily and you do feel like grasshoppers in their sight. That is exactly what the evil one wants you to feel. Hopeless, helpless, defeated.
We do live in a world that has been tainted with sin and decay. It is great to know that we have a God that is greater than a 10’ tall giant and microscopic cancer cells.
As we travel on this trek of life together, we must realize and understand that the odds are against us. Sooner or later death will be a reality for all of us. This life, whether many years or few is just a drop in the ocean of eternity. The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our biggest giants that we face is not the situation that we are currently in, but fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of financial destruction, fear of sickness and fear of death. We become fearful when we take our eyes off of God and focus on our giant that we need to conquer. When we allow ourselves to become grasshoppers instead of holy children of God. The opposite of fear is faith. Faith that God will see us through the darkest nights because He is the light. 1 John 1:5 tells us, “This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.”
Even when our faith falters, and it will at times, God will give us a chance to continue on and move forward as he did for the children of Israel when some 40 years later Joshua led them in. Joshua still faced the same giants in the Promised Land, but he moved forward to victory. An interesting point though is, even after spending 40+ years with Moses and seeing all of God’s miracles, God had to encourage Joshua with these words in Joshua 1:6-9 6, “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
What was God’s solution for Joshua to overcome fear? Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you.
This is the same solution for us when we face our giants, even if they are microscopic. We need to spend time in God’s Word and obey everything written in it so that we can be strong and courageous.
We can live with less fear and discouragement for the Prophet Isaiah chapter 41:10 tells us.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
We need to focus on God, NOT giants. We need to conquer out giants by meditating on God’s Word and obeying Him. We need to have a faith that will conquer our fears. We need to stand strong regardless of whether our giants are as large, or larger than Goliath of Gath, or as microscopic as a cancer cell. God will give us the strength and courage to conquer our giants through faith in Him. As the writer of Hebrews tells us in Chapter 11, verses 1 through 3, faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
Jesus taught us what our attitude towards life should be when the giants of life overwhelm us in Luke 12:22-31.
Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?
“Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.
The whole matter may be summed up with the following couplet:
Focus on giants – you stumble.
Focus on God – your giants are conquered.
You are not a grasshopper – Lift your eyes, giant slayer. The God who made a miracle out of David stands ready to make one out of you.