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When the giant doesn't die

I am writing this in response to some comments and questions I received after I preached on David and Goliath from 1 Samuel 17. To listen to the sermon go here.

I thought I’d fill in some points that could clearly use filling in. The main question I want to deal with is, “What if the giant doesn’t die?” In other words, if the main point of the sermon, “You can’t slay the giants in your life. You need the Giant slayer” is true, then what does it mean when some of the trials or pains or “giants” never go away or die?

1 Samuel 17 clearly shows us that David is not the hero of the story. The hero is the One to whom David gives all the credit. “The battle is the Lord’s.” Every battle we face in life—and we will always face battles—is known to God and is under his sovereign rule.

Here is how he defeats these “giants” or gives us victory in the battle. Sometimes he completely slays or removes the giant. I remember when one of the members of our church was suffering with cancer. The elders gathered around him in his home while he knelt on the floor of his living room and we anointed him with oil and prayed for him. We prayed that God would remove the cancer from his body—and he did! And the cancer has never returned.

Sometimes God “slays the giant” as he partially removes the pain or lessens the trial and provides us with the strength and insight we need to handle whatever portion remains. This is often how victims of abuse find hope and joy in life. The painful memories and physical results of the abuse may affect them for the rest of their lives but by God’s grace, he slays the giant in such a way that those who have been abused can live full and productive lives.

Sometimes it seems as though God is absent or hasn’t heard our prayers and there seems to be no change in the situation. The giant does not die. The wound is still open. The pain is intense. Be sure of this: God is at work. Be patient. Trust in him to provide the relief you need. Seek support and help within the body of Christ. Hear St. Peter’s words in regards to this:

[10] And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

That is true for all of us no matter the size of our giant or the amount of relief or removal we’ve experienced. All who trust in Christ and his work of slaying the giants in our lives will go, in the words of C.S. Lewis, “Further up and further in.” We will all gain that land where there are no more giants and the effects of the giants that plagued us on earth will be washed away.

[17] For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, [18] as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18

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