The Little Choices

I Samuel 17:39

“David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.  “I cannot go in these.” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.”

As I read this verse amidst the account of David and Goliath I was reminded that beating Goliath is not the hard part of the battle.  Sure Goliath was a huge, huge “giant”!  He was tough, arrogant, confident, and a trained warrior, but David was sure that with God’s help he would take out Goliath.  You see, facing Goliath wasn’t hard for David, because he made the right choices leading up to the battle.   As I read this story verse 39 jumped out at me.  Leading up to this verse David tells King Saul, “I’m your man!”  So, Saul gives David his blessing and then places his own armor on David.  But, David realized real quick that it wouldn’t work for him.  And, you know what? The battle was won in that moment.  David could have easily gone along with everyone else.  All the other soldiers were fully armored up.  He could have bought into the lie that the “real warriors” have big swords and shiny armor, but David didn’t buy into that philosophy.  Instead he listened to his heart and who God called him to be: a shepherd boy with a sling and heart for God.   It was an easy choice for David, so he “took them off.”  The battle was won in that moment.  He didn’t need what Saul offered to beat Goliath; he just needed what God had already given him.  If David had gone out to war wearing that heavy armor he probably would have gotten his head knocked off and we would never have read about him, other than “shepherd boy David gets head knocked off by giant.”  But instead, we are able to read about King David, the man after God’s own heart, because he learned to make the right choices along the way.

Often times we find ourselves beat down and struggling when we look at the Goliaths in our own lives.  When in reality the things we should be keeping a close eye on are the little choices that led up to the Goliaths.  The battles in our lives are decided with each choice we make.  I look back on my life and remember huge failures.  They didn’t just come out of the blue and surprise me, they happened because I didn’t pay attention to the small choices before I faced “Goliath.”

I also enjoyed reading verse 39 because it says this, “he took them off”.  Now the verse is talking about armor, but I think it can apply to our lives.  What do you need to take off?  What has the world tried to offer you?  Maybe it is inappropriate love and friendships, maybe it is habits, and maybe it is temptations.  Don’t let the world run you down.  Begin to win the battle with the little choices.  Goliath isn’t nearly as scary when you make the right choices along the way.  Oh, and if you are familiar with David’s full story you also know he faced other “Goliaths” in his life, and he didn’t always come through.  But, if you go over his entire life story, you will also see it was the “little choices” that lead David to defeat.  And yet, God forgave and cleansed David of all unrighteousness, much like God does for you and me when we fail and then confess our failures to him.  So, don’t lose heart, keep seeking God, making the right choices, and taking on your “Goliaths” with God on your side.

May we not only have the heart of a warrior, but also the heart of wisdom, insight, and the faith of a shepherd.  Be blessed.

So, We Will Love

Our imperfect human side always tries, and often succeeds, to get in the way of what God really wants from us as parents.  As worldly creatures we like being better, doing better, and getting more done than the next person. We want to prove our worth in others eyes.  As foster parents, we want to show our kids this is what “good” parenting looks like.  We want them to see our “normal” and we want that to be their new “normal”. 

But, in reality, we are not any better than their biological parents.  While we do not abuse our children physically, emotionally, or sexually.  Nor, do we  neglect our children, but, we still sin.  And, sin is sin in God’s eyes.  Therefore in His eyes, we are really not any better than the parents we are supposedly protecting these children from.  Our judgement of the biological family, for the choices they have made and make, is clearly just as wrong as the choices they have made and are making.

We are beginning to  understand more and more each day that we are not only here to love the children, but also their parents.

At the end of the day, God has called us to love and protect these beautiful children.  We get to play an important role in their lives for now.  Our goal should never be about how much better of a parent we are than their biological parents.  Instead, the goal should be love.  We are here to show these children they are special and they are loved.  To show them they make our world crazy better every day!  We get to kiss their hurts, celebrate their accomplishments, praise their great works, and tuck them into bed every night after we pray for their mom and dad.

Our imperfect human side wants to make this about us.  But, God’s plan has always been to make this about the children.  And, in that, the biological parents are a clear extension of their children and God’s plan for redemption.

So, we will love.

We will love not only the children, but we will love their mom and dad.  We will pray for them.  We will root for them.  We will encourage them.  And, we will remember, this journey is about love, grace, and mercy for all involved.

– Howard’s Party of 8