Faith-Filled Expectations

Titles are hard. A singer-songwriter friend and I were commiserating about this struggle recently, so I know it’s not just me. The title has to reflect the creative work in 1-5 words, be attention-grabbing and catchy, and not sound cheesy. 

The title for Avenger’s Shadow, book 2 in The Shadows series, came to me while I was working on Midnight Shadow and I went with it, but as I’ve been revising the story, I’ve come to see just how perfect that title is for the book that has formed. It’s truly a work of God and as I saw how well the title fit, I found myself increasingly amazed at how good God is as He works in and through His people. 

After that amazement, came a little twinge of conviction. Why am I always so surprised that God works things out? My amazement says a lot more about the level of my faith than it does about the awesome goodness of our God, doesn’t it? 

I’ve been studying 1 Samuel with my small group and we’re looking at the story of David & Goliath this week in chapter 17. Not only did David expect God to do big things, he wasn’t surprised when God did them. There’s so much that’s noteworthy in this story that I’d encourage you to go back and re-read it for yourself, but I’ll highlight a few things that really stood out to me. 

No one believed in David. His brother ridiculed and insulted him (vs. 28), Saul discouraged him (vs. 33) then tried to equip David with his own gear (vs. 38-39), and Goliath mocked him (vs. 41-44). Yet in the face of this opposition, David’s faith never falters. In fact, here’s his response to Goliath’s mockery.

“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, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues His people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” 1 Samuel 17:45-47.

As if that bold statement isn’t enough, the very next thing David does is quickly run to engage Goliath in battle. The words show no hesitation, no doubt, and no fear. David had full confidence that God had sent him and that God would act. Remember that at this time, David was a shepherd, not a trained warrior. He wasn’t part of Saul’s army and presumably had never fought in battle, yet he was precisely the man God chose to bring victory.

It all comes down to faith. Do I believe God will work or don’t I? Do I think I need to have the insight, wisdom, knowledge, or strength to do the work or do I trust God to work, regardless of what I do or don’t bring to the situation? Hebrews 11:34 really emphasizes this: “Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.”

As you face the challenges in your life, remember that God has put you where you’re at for a purpose. Pray for eyes to see that purpose, for an attentive and responsive heart that will move according to God’s direction. Like David, you’ll face opposition. You’ll have people try to tell you how things “should” be done. God often works uniquely in situations and what has worked for someone in the past, may be the wrong approach now. David was able to confidently face Goliath because he knew that the victory had nothing to do with him and everything to do with God!

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