Courage in the face of adversity
The classic David and Goliath story has been told throughout history across various religions and cultures.
The setting was sometime in the 11th Century in a place called The Valley of Elah, located on the border of the West Bank about 46 minutes’ drive from Jerusalem. Ancient Israel under its first Royal ruler, King Saul was at war with the Philistines. The Philistines’ champion – Goliath came forward day after day to challenge the army of Israel to a single 1 on 1 combat. All the Israelite’s were terrified, none of them would accept the challenge of Goliath – an experienced warrior and giant believed to have been 9 feet 9 inches tall.
When the young shepherd boy, David Jesse heard the boastful harassment of Goliath and was told the reward for defeating him, he accepted the challenge as if it were nothing but a child’s game. Only David dared to stand up to the champion. Aside from the fact that David was like a baby in size compared to Goliath, he was armed with just a sling and pebbles to confront Goliath who was well kitted with armour and a javelin. It turned out that David swung the sling with one of the pebbles and it ripped right into Goliath’s forehead, killing him on the spot. David defeated the champion that day and secured victory for Israel.
David displayed impressive courage in the face of huge adversity which makes this story so relevant till date with admirations from many regardless of ethnicity and race. Even in our modern and secular world, “David and Goliath” has become a metaphor to represent “the underdog” versus “the bully” situation – a contest where a smaller, weaker opponent faces a much bigger and stronger adversary. It has inspired various literary works and movies like the 2005 Lightstone movie musical titled “One Smooth Stone“, which was later changed to “David and Goliath“. This story appeals to us because we all believe in the idea that the weak and lowly can stand up to the tall and mighty.
Today, we are all going through very uncertain times. The challenges around us are like a modern-day Goliath – larger than life, intimidating, and seemingly beyond our capacity to confront. However, this is the time for us to stand tall and courageously face the obstacles before us.
I believe the story of David and Goliath offers us important lessons. It could even inspire hope in these challenging times and motivate us to stand tall regardless of what is arrayed against us. Here are 3 lessons we can learn from one of the most famous underdog stories of all time:
- Stand Tall Regardless of Your Status
David was a nobody – even in his family. He had no military training or any experience in battle. He was small in stature and didn’t really stand a chance with Goliath. But that didn’t deter him from standing tall. Friend, your environment, background and socioeconomic status might not be the kind you desire, they might even look like legitimate reasons to keep you down, but don’t let them. Don’t use what you don’t have as an excuse not to stand up, stand tall and eventually stand out.
- Have The Right Perspective
You know two sets of people can look at the same situation and respond differently because of their perspectives. David saw and heard Goliath just like others but responded differently; they saw a huge champion they couldn’t beat, but David saw a big target he couldn’t miss. With the right perspective, your limitations could be your greatest advantage; while your giant’s advantage could be his greatest limitation. What you need to do is to change your perspective about your “limitations” and ask, “how can I use this to my advantage?”
- Ignore the Nay-Sayers
This is very important. After conquering self-doubt, the voices of naysayers might just be the loudest distraction you need to silence and “kill that giant”. History has records of brave individuals who have accomplished feats that many others – even experts tagged impossible. But they did it and we celebrate them today. Dear friend, you don’t have to wait for the crowd to cheer before you take a stand. In David’s case, the king tried to stop him, his brothers were against his decision and other frightened soldiers discouraged him from stepping forward. But, in the end, they all celebrated him. Take your bold step today, and don’t be distracted by the fear of others.
Of course, I do not subscribe to taking foolish actions without proper assessment of the realities on ground. I, however, advise that you take a stand and not bow to the fear of the unknown. This is a time to stand tall and step out. Ask yourself, “what giants do I need to take on today?”
Remember, You Only Have One Life to Live, MAKE IT COUNT!