Confronting the odds
But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!”... “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you. 1 Samuel 17:34-37, 45-46
One of the highlights during NBA All-Star is the slam dunk competition. In 1986, the competition was between Spud Webb whose height was 5’ 7” against Dominique Wilkins who was 6’ 8” tall. The odd was against Spud Webb but he won that year’s slam dunk competition. When Spud Webb was growing up, no one would have predicted that he will win a slam dunk competition or would be recruited to play in NBA. Starting in the seventh grade, Webb was told that he was too short to play basketball. He received a chance to play on his junior high team only after two players forgot to complete their physical exam requirements in time for the first game. Webb defied all odds when he won defeating a much taller player than he was. This type of story is what gives us the motivation to not give up despite the odds. This is also the reason why we never get tired of the story of David and Goliath. When the Israelites heard the challenge of Goliath to fight him, no one dared because they were all terrified (v. 17), but not David. His courage was born out of his trust and dependence in the living God. God is the God of the unexpected. God is all-powerful, and there is no power in all creation that comes close to matching His power. Yet His power “is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In other words, God does and will break the bows of the mighty, bring down the proud, and shatter his enemies (see 1 Samuel 2:1–10). God will accomplish His powerful purposes by means of the shameful death of Jesus on the cross. This was so in order to defy the wisdom of the world. “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Even as we are intimidated by whatever threatens us, we are called to put our trust in the God of the unexpected. God can be trusted, but He will act in ways that take us all by surprise. Who would have thought that the immense problems of the world and the troubles of human life have their ultimate solution in the execution of Jesus outside Jerusalem? The preaching of the news about His suffering, death and resurrection to the nations of the world is what will bring about salvation. God is the God of the unexpected. Do you believe that? Or do you still think that you have the power, wealth and cleverness that you can rely with to be saved? “God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful” (1 Corinthians 1:27).
Noel De Guzman