Worthy of Confidence
Christopher B. Harbin
1 Samuel 17:32-49; Ps 9:9-20; Mark 4:35-41; 2 Cor 6:1-13
Why does David's confrontation with Goliath stand out in our minds as a supreme example of faith, yet Paul's ministry among the Corinthians does not? It would seem that physical threat and danger speaks louder to us than other kinds of threat and danger. We seem much more attuned to critical moments of crisis than to ongoing issues that threat our lives or quality of living. We easily identify a heart attack as a problem. Indulging in poor habits known to lead to heart attacks, on the other hand, is a practice we actually encourage.
Events of this past week among the population of Iran are a good case in point. The world is now aware of brutality visited upon a people protesting results of an election they believe to have gone awry. Many of us have seen clandestine images that speak to a perception of the misuse of force upon a people rising to stake a claim to rights of free expression. We recognize the threat of physical injury and death to keep a population under the control of the current regime of power. Years of oppression, however, do not often deliver the same message to us as a critical moment as this.
It is, however, in the course of long term oppression that confidence speaks loudest and with greatest difficulty, than in moments of crisis. In times of crisis, issues are spelled out more clearly. We know and can easily identify an enemy and the direction of a threat. In critical times of crisis, we may be able to distinguish more clearly those things which threaten and to gauge their severity.
That is not to say that crisis always identifies the enemy for us clearly. Goliath was obviously an enemy of the people of Israel. Perhaps not as clearly highlighted, however, is that Saul had become just as much an enemy as Goliath. Saul was shirking his duties as king. Responsibility to face the Philistine champion was ultimately his. U ...
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