Sunday, August 17

There are Goliaths in front of us........

“A man named Goliath, from the city of Gath, came out from the Philistine camp to challenge the Israelites. He was over nine feet tall and wore bronze armor that weighed about 125 pounds and a bronze helmet. His legs were also protected by bronze armor, and he carried a bronze javelin slung over his shoulder. His spear was as thick as the bar on a weaver's loom, and its iron head weighed about fifteen pounds. A soldier walked in front of him carrying his shield.” (1Sa 17:4-7 GNB)

Today, Goliath stands before me and all I can think is that someone lied to me, the old stories of glory and honor upon the battlefield where the knight is ablaze in the afternoon sun in his shining armor stands valiantly upon his feet, sword drawn (sharp and dangerous within his hand) and shield slung low upon his guard arm, defiant in his boasts to the enemy before him, and energized with the power of righteousness.

Someone lied to me. The stories aren’t true.

And the reality is much harsher than I could’ve ever imagined.

No where in the descriptions of glorious battles of old are the cruelty of the beating, relentless sun that smothers my very breath that weasels through my clenched teeth. No one speaks of the grittiness of the sand that blows through the valley, scrubbing harsh and raw upon the exposed flesh of my arms, nor of the painful invasion of it into the crevices of my feet to grind away at the sensitive skin between them. The powerful image of the shining armor is replaced by the dinginess of my woven, stained, and tattered cloak, tied not by an elaborate sword belt or hefted by an ornate belt. No mention is made of the beating in painful thumps, the heart, or the absence of available air that starving lungs cry out for in supplication of a life that seems measured in a matter of seconds or minutes rather than years.

The ‘romance’ of battle is nothing more than a fantasy of men who never stood where I stand.

And, no where….I mean NO WHERE… the sheer enormancy of the enemy warrior so inadequate, so incomplete, and so wrong….I have been duped, misled, and am now left in the realization of my folly; that I could do what the seasoned warriors of numerous battles could not……..stand for the honor and glory of my King.

The jaunty walk to the field of honor has been replaced by cement shoes, dragged in halting steps to a destiny that I am no longer sure I want to partake of. The assurance of the hand, the cockiness of the stance have melted into a trembling, unglorified crouch of a frightened little boy who is wearing clothes that are way too big for him. A boy playing at being a man, mistaken to be one by others that wait his ‘rude awakening’ at the hands of this superior foe.

This warrior stands miles, not feet, high and I feel so unprepared, so inadequate for the task I’ve confidently commanded moments before in front of my peers and my heroes. His armor would liquefy my bones, not merely snap them, with its weight if I wore it upon my body. His sword, miles long and as heavy as a ten-ton beam of steel, looks to be a mere toy in his hand, which I could run a marathon along its circumference. His spear, as thick as my entire width of body, wouldn’t merely pierce me with its tip, but would cleave me in two without ever leaving a connection between the halves my body would become.

I am not merely scared.

I am frozen by the sheer audacity of my fear, unable to form a coherent thought or to effect a brave pose.

My mind forms only one repeating thought:


Not a honorable death, played out before the gathered hosts of both armies where stories will be told of the fateful day that a foolish little boy took up a warriors weapons and, with misplaced bravo, stood before a superior enemy and was killed. Oh no, there will be no admiration from the enemy’s comrades of this boy who stood up against impossible odds and lost, but was brave enough to face his death with dignity.

No, this death, played out in my mind’s eye is one of enormous pain, brevity of time, and inglorious in its conclusion.

But, some stupid little piece of honor remains that locks my knees in their shaking, weak stance and guides my fumbling, trembling hands into the pouch filled with impossibility slippery, tiny stones that once seemed like mighty boulders before reality set in. A bit of misplaced ‘glory’ holds the straps of my sling in my throwing hand. My mind screams to run, to hide, to face the ridicule and the scorn of those ‘mighty’ warriors that stand quaking behind my sweat-stained back but is overridden by a shred of honor, to know that even though I go to face my Creator this day that I face Him with the knowledge that I did not quit.

Today, I face one of my Goliaths, and I do not want to die.

My swing is less perfect than the countless times I have struck with its surety of purpose, against lesser foes that have threatened my family, my loved ones, and myself. I hear the gasps of warriors of my own army as it strikes violently against shaky legs, bruising the flesh so horribly treated and the laughter of the enemy’s forces as this puny boy stands against their champion.

I close my eyes in an effort, however clumsy, to die with a shred of dignity. I swing again.

The wobbling sound of the slice through the air that signals my sling’s activation echoes throughout the valley upon the pregnant pause of the waiting forces upon which the battles outcome depends. Isolated and very alone in the midst of the gathered, I swing with a desperation of a foolish boy to whom the outcome of the striking stone is assured.

Releasing my will to the fate of the moment, I let loose on the downward stroke of my swing and watch with sad expectation at the trajectory of the stone as it flies to the enemy standing bored before me. No one breathes, no one moves. Time, in its superiority, even stops to watch this ending.

It strikes the broad, expansive plain of Goliath’s forehead and falls to the ground, spent and useless.

And Goliath stands. A vision of impatience, of anger at the momentary flash of this disturbance washes across his face as his eyes glare, projecting the images of pain, blood, and messy death that he will now reek upon my fragile body. He steps forward, one step away from the place to which such destruction will commence. One less moment of breath I’ll have to take……

This weekend, at the M3 meeting, the topic was the ceremony of entrance into the community of Men, something that a lot of men in American society never have experienced. Many of us have never been told that we are able to move from the boyhood innocence of our youth into the turbulent and confusing world of Manhood. And society is failing because of it. The adoption of our male youth into the larger community of men, to be mentored and guided by older men, has been twisted and maligned. It is not the village’s purpose to grow boys into men, it is the community of men who were called to bring about the generational future of this world.

As women are called not to raise the men of a godly purpose, but are to be examples of godly daughters. This is why there is so many women who want godly men, but cannot find them because of a society that has confused the generations now coming of age.

It is time that men reclaim that rite of passage and pass it on to their sons, not only the sons of biology but the sons of the larger community of society. It is when this ‘graduation’ into the warrior period of a man’s life that our society’s illnesses will be smitten in righteous reclamation of a God-designed and purposed honoring of our creation. To give our sons, the young future, the assurance that they can become the men God intended them to be, that they are not alone where their mistakes are under a microscope of intimation and failure from other men, and they can become what they are meant to be; warriors who stand between chaos and destruction to protect the beauty and order of those they are called to defend.

Such was the teaching, and the testimony of one of the newest member to the community of men. A rite of passage, an acceptance into the larger community, and a realization that he, the young boy who is becoming a man. Amongst a group of men who testified to him, entreated him and will stand in their promise to mentor him in his journey to manhood. It was an inspiring, hope-filled, and honoring story to be told.

Something I personally, and something that society as a whole, has told our younger generation the total opposite of.

Something my heart mourned, as it did with many of the men present at the meeting atop of the National City Bank building in Troy Michigan yesterday.

And then I walked into a meeting that I have been honored to attend who’s focus is bringing men back into God’s designed purpose to be such a community of men. And, Scott Engelmann, the leader of this raggedy band of men, issued a challenge that was spoken to his heart, and expressed in his life………………..

And Goliath rose from the dust of the dessert floor, gaining life from my fears, as the call to be something so beyond my imagination and far beyond my unrealized potential was given breath.

To be a leader of men.

To be a servant of God.

To move into a landscape where the inevitability of death carries a weight that hazy dreams and fuzzy directions do not have. To move with a decisive, designed, and sacrificial purpose into the higher calling of the community of men and reclaim with our own stories the hearts and passions of the future.

To be a leader standing alone against the tide of culturism, modernism, and commercialism and shout out against the haters of the God-designed purpose of the sexes to say;

This is God’s purpose for us, for our families, for our sons, for our daughters, and for our world.

Not to reinstate the barbaric, human-declared design of what makes a man, what makes a woman and what the purpose of each is; where a woman is lesser than a man and a man is a god……NO……

But to reinstate, reclaim, and resecure the God-designed, inspirational purpose of what a man and a woman are supposed to be, supposed to create, and supposed to pass on to the generations to come……

Goliath is massive, so much bigger than the original tales that we, this little band of men, were told he was.

And the challenge to stand in front of the larger community of men; cloaked in a meager, coarse coat of camel hair and gripping a small, seemingly-ineffective sling with a single pebble against the giant of the enemy’s champion and swing……….is bigger than anything even the most knowledgeable, passionate, and driven amongst us had ever realized.

Be careful what you wish for, God said in that meeting today. If you have declared yourself ready for what I have planned, I will take you at your word. I will bring about Goliath and see if you will stand as David did. Without the assurance of victory by your hands and through the trials of perfection.
Will you face your Goliath today?

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