Every morning I look in the mirror and a bald-headed reality stares back at me. The result of chemotherapy treatment.
Every morning I face a choice. Will I complain to myself about the situation I find myself in? Or will I rise above it and focus on the positives?
My David ring helps me make that choice. The ring is a simple silver band adorned with a small silver pebble. It represents the battle which David had against Goliath in the biblical account found in 1 Samuel 17 . The ring is a gift from my youngest daughter and is very meaningful to me. It represents her faith that I will have victory and come through the other side of cancer. It also inspires my faith, because it is a visual reminder to me that God is on my side just as He was for David in his battle.
David was regularly attending King Saul at the battlefield camp and saw the situation which his fellow Israelites faced. For forty days Goliath had been shouting threats and challenging the Israelite army. David could have chosen to stay home and continue attending his father’s sheep instead of making visits to the battlefield. He could have been discouraged by the attitude of his older brothers who basically told him to “get lost and go back home”. He could have looked at the impressive nine foot stature of Goliath and become fearful like the rest of the Israelite army. But no, he put his hand up to face Goliath. So King Saul provided him with armour. Even then David could have chosen to turn back because the armour didn’t fit so he discarded it! But instead David confidently declared, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:37)
What is the reality that keeps shouting at you? Shaking its fist in your face and taunting you? Trying to distract you?
The Israelites were immobolised and demoralised by what they saw and heard each day when Goliath faced them off. They were depressed by their perception of a seemingly hopeless situation. They looked at the physical size of Goliath and the army he represented and totally forgot to focus on the faithfulness of their God to give them a victory over their enemy. But David knew where to focus.
As a shepherd boy David often needed to choose between defending his sheep from the bear and the lion or fleeing in terror. He’d seen God come through for him many times. David wasn’t daunted by Goliath because he’d already experienced victory against the lions and the bears out on the lonely shepherd fields . He knew the faithfulness of his God. He discarded Saul’s sword and armour in favour of pebbles from a nearby brook. He recognised what God had provided in order for him to defeat the enemy.
Whatever our every day, ordinary in-our-face reality, like David we can choose to look beyond what we physically see or experience, to see what God has provided to defeat our enemy.
Our enemy may be discouragement, or low self-worth, or doubt, or depression, or anxiety, or fear. We can acknowledge and validate these very real human emotions without falling prey to being completely overcome by them. But we tend to look to the armour and not the pebbles as a way to do that. Our “armour” may be entertainment. Or emotional eating. Or the latest self-help books or gurus. Or medication. Or retail therapy. For me it is busyness. But when I finish being busy, the same old enemy lies waiting. Temporary fixes are just that. Temporary. God in His grace desires to give us victory, if we are willing to pick up the weapons He has provided. Like David we can get to a place where we recognise the armour isn’t going to work, and we can run to the brook, and pick up our pebbles!
The pebbles in our pouch are the spiritual weapons of praise, prayer, and God’s Word.
It’s really hard to stay discouraged, defeated, or downcast when we begin to praise, or pray, or read God’s Word. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Is any battle easy? If it was, we wouldn’t call it a battle!
Each morning when I look in the mirror I may not like being reminded that I’m fighting cancer, but I cannot allow the physical reality to define my spiritual reality. If I do, then negative thoughts have the potential to bring “death” to the rest of my day. I’ll feel low, maybe useless, and worry about what’s coming next. Or I can choose praise, prayer, and God’s Word. I can look in the mirror and praise God for a new day. I can look outside the window and praise Him for the sky and the birds and the trees. I can speak out scriptures. I can pray.
This is not positive confession, or “say it till you make it” or “mind over matter.” Hearing spiritual truth out of my own mouth builds my faith and sets me free. Jesus said in John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” If I let negative thoughts take control, they steal my time, kill my joy, and destroy my peace. That was exactly what had happened to the Israelite army. When I live like that, I’m not really living. I can’t stop those thoughts from circling around my head, but I can stop the birds from nesting in my hair! Well actually, I have no hair right now, but you get the idea! And no, I don’t win this battle every day, some days are really hard…but I get back up again and God in His grace lets me start again!
Will you dare to pray to the One who loves you? Will you dare to pick up His Word and get it into your heart and mind? Will you praise Him for who He is? As you do, your focus will shift from how big the challenge is, to how big God is!
Let’s pick up the pebbles and see the enemy defeated in our every day ordinary!
And as I wear my David Ring, I will continue to be reminded that God has given me the victory!