“Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:47
It’s fall, y’all! The trees are finally turning beautiful colors in our neck of the woods, which prompted a trek last week at Bays Mountain Park with two of my hiking buddies, Lorrie Smith and Mary Hogue.
We started on the trail around the lake, which gave us picture-puzzle reflections of fall foliage. The lake rests in a bowl on a ridge overlooking Kingsport, Tennessee, and about halfway around, we turned off toward the top edge where a fire tower stands.
The tower was built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a government program in Great-Depression America to give jobs to those out of work. The tower’s original steel was somewhat rusted, and the wooden steps looked refurbished but worn. Overall, the structure appeared still structurally sound—a testimony to the quality work of those who built it 83 years ago.
Without much ado, we started up, each of us on a separate flight so we wouldn’t stress the steel beams. I did some silent praying for safety, not more than a sentence here and there, too busy concentrating on the climb.
The breeze was light at first, but it picked up briskly as we inched our way upward using the rusty handrails. With a missing step near the top and no handrails on the last flight, we had to use the criss-cross trusses plus the platform itself to pull ourselves into the roughly seven-by-seven-foot box.
What a reward! According to the park manager, Rob Cole, the tower is about 100 feet tall at an elevation of 2,600 feet.* We had a 360-degree view of the mountain scenery. (See photos below.) Supposedly, on a very clear day, you can even see Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina from there. After a few selfies for proof that we mastered the climb, we scrambled down and moseyed our way back around the lake, oohing and ahhing at the beautiful crimson and gold colors.
What I didn’t admit to my friends is that I have a rather significant fear of heights—called “acrophobia.” Since they didn’t seem too intimidated to make the climb, I decided that I would be the first one up. I didn’t look down the entire time. If I had, I probably would have been paralyzed and ready to chicken out…I’ve done that before. Instead, I just kept my eyes fixed on the next step, looking for ways to stabilize my position with each turn. The climb was worth it, even if my thighs are still complaining about it.
I imagine all of us have phobias (fears) of some sort or another. Fortunately, mine aren’t too severe, but I will never forget moments when they have overwhelmed me, such as on the observatory deck of one of the Twin Towers in New York (in the 1980s) when I looked at ant-like cars and felt the tower sway in the wind…couldn’t get down from there fast enough.
When fears and anxieties arrive, there’s not much you can do to rationalize them away. They take over and grip us in adrenalin panic, wilting our strength. But, when faced with giants, you can prepare for them, pray, and ask God to give you just enough courage to get through them.
When youthful David encountered the nearly 10-foot-tall giant Goliath, he could have had a touch of “fee-fi-phobia” (sorry, bad pun). There’s no indication in Scripture that David was afraid; his response bristles with righteous anger at the giant’s impertinence against God’s chosen people. If he had a fleeting moment of hesitation, he abandoned it to run toward his giant.
What propelled David into the fray was that he was already assured of the outcome—that the battle was not his, but the Lord’s to win. He knew from past experience that God would take care of him in the important struggles—“The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:37) God, indeed, was faithful to have prepared David with the well-honed skill of slinging a rock missile—with perfect trajectory—into Goliath’s unprotected forehead.
Friend, are you facing a giant today? Is it COVID-phobia? Is it someone who makes your life miserable or threatens you? Do you have a task or job that seems too big for you to manage? Are your worries too much for you to handle alone?
The good news is that you’re not alone. Sheer discipline, personal strength, and willpower will not get you through your day—but you can trust that the God of angel armies is with you. Ask Him to go before you. He will prepare you. Through His Holy Spirit, His strength, you can face the giants in your world. And watch Him take them down.
Holy God, powerful beyond our imagination, thank You for being our strength in the battles of life. Help us to remember that You have already won the war—and that You make us victorious in our daily skirmishes here on earth. Continue to assure us that You will conquer our fears as You take down our giants. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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© Copyright 2020 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative