David or Jonathan?
Most of us have heard the Biblical story of David and Goliath. A story of bravery, identity, faith and victory. Whether you believe the Bible or not, it inspires one to be bold and to refuse to be intimidated by giant problems. While the Israelite army shuddered for forty days at the threats of the giant Goliath, David confronted him in the name of the Almighty God, and won an amazing victory. He did not even have to use the usual armour or weapons! David’s victory over the giant squashed the confidence of the Philistine army, and allowed the Israelite soldiers to conquer them, as described in 1 Samuel 17.
Sometimes, we face problems that just will not go away, no matter how long we wait. We have to look the issue in the eye and deal with it. The result of which can sometimes make us or break us. There is no sitting on the fence. If we attempt to tackle the problem weakly, we make ourselves more likely to fail. The fear of failure, on the other hand, is enough to cripple one into inaction. Refusing to make a move, no matter how safe it sounds, unfortunately means also that we do not make any progress. So we have to decide when and how to face the problem, because there is no moving forward without doing so. You might have faced a situation like this in your studies, career, relationships or finances, where doing nothing is not an option. If David did nothing, they would have lost the battle. He had to be courageous and go all in, if they were to have any chance of winning.
Sometimes, we struggle to have such faith and courage. It might feel like an easier option to just surrender to Goliath. I was encouraged when I read the story of Jonathan in 1 Samuel 14 - how he snuck out of the fear-stricken, disadvantaged Israelite army camp and walked into the Philistine enemy camp with a plan. He, unlike David, did not go on his own. He agreed with his armour bearer that they would go out to the Philistines, but only attack if the Philistines dared them to come and fight. This was going to be his sign that God would help him defeat them. They would definitely need a miracle!
It is interesting that Jonathan had a loyal companion for his brave feat. He was not sure in himself, like David, but he did not let fear hold him back. He still made a move and took a chance. Would the miraculous victory have happened if he did not make a move? We would never know. What I realised, though, was that he followed through on his word, and faced the enemy when they dared him - which was the sign. Imagine how much courage it would have taken to take those extra steps into the enemy camp to fight, even after he got his sign. He must have had to ignore voices in his head telling him how stupid he was being - going with just one man, against thousands! It is even more amazing when we think that this happened even before people had the David and Goliath story to encourage themselves by.
The end of the story was even more interesting to me because the Israelite army, despite having no swords because of Philistine oppression, also had not eaten all day because of an oath the king made his men take - they were not to eat before the end of the day. Jonathan, who knew nothing about this, ate some honey and refreshed himself, making him better equipped with energy for battle. I was pleased to see that there was eventually no punishment for Jonathan for eating that day, especially because his bravery and ‘breaking the rules’ won them the victory.
We may not all be confident like David, but we must not let fear hold us back from advancing in life. Jonathan’s story shows that we can be brave in different ways. We also need to remember that friends/companions, ‘signs’ and refreshment are not for the weak. It is wisdom to know when we need to get help from some of our connections, pray for signs to help our decision-making, and take time out or accept help to refresh ourselves and get what we need to succeed. The wise man lives to fight another day. If you are currently going through a tough time/dilemma and struggling to see a way out, remember that it is okay to be afraid, but it is important not to let fear determine your actions or reactions. Your battle really must first be won in your mind. Be bold and make a move. Miracles still happen!