Bob Haley

Bob Haley

Perhaps my favorite story plot is that of overcoming the monster, in which the protagonist sets out to defeat the antagonist to protect home or loved ones.

Basically it is good guy versus bad guy, a journey to overcome obstacles to face evil and to win the day. We have seen this theme repeatedly, in stories of Beowulf and James Bond, and even Star Wars.

I happen to be a fan of the Rocky Balboa stories — simple man rising to defeat the monster, whether it is Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang or Ivan Drago. Spoiler alert: Rocky wins.

These stories inspire me that I too might be able to rise to greatness when my time comes. The reality is that when I am faced with a monster of life, I usually cower in fear, convinced that I am alone and powerless.

I have seen several who have faced illnesses, cancer and death with great courage. I want to think that I would rise to the moment. Ultimately, it is only when we are truly facing such things that we discover our true selves.

In 1 Samuel 17 is the story of David and Goliath. David, the young shepherd boy, had delivered bread to his brothers, who were in the army of King Saul. Upon arrival, David saw the Philistine’s champion, named Goliath, in the valley cursing God and the Israelites.

Goliath stood nearly 9 feet tall and his armor itself weighed more than a boy would. No one from the Israelite army rose to meet the challenge of such a monster of a man.

David, however, went to Saul and asked permission to go and challenge Goliath. Saul finally consented and tried to give David the king’s armor to wear. But the armor was a cumbersome load and David protested that he could not fight in such things.

So, David picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.

Goliath approached David, sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy.

“Am I a dog that you come at me with a stick?” David replied “You come to me with sword, spear and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the God of Israel.”

As Goliath moved closer to attack, David reached into his shepherd’s bag and, taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead with such force that Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground dead.

When we face the monsters of life, let us learn a lesson from young David that we are not alone in the battle. We have the one true God with us.

Jesus said to his followers that He would not leave us or forsake us. We are not fighting alone. There is nothing we are facing that can separate us from the love of God.

Like David, with God on our side who or what can defeat us? Our very lives are in God’s hands and our place in Heaven is secure in His promises.

So as you face your monster, remember that the battle is already won. Stand firm in the faith of Christ Jesus.

Bob Haley is assistant pastor of Christ United Methodist Church, Venice;^p


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