Wading through treacle


Sitting outside the closed café with my feet on a chair, just watching the rain and enjoying the almost-silence. My mind is wandering all over the place, which is probably not a good thing. Am not feeling as ‘down’ as I have been, but am sad as I think about my life and relationships and achievements and experiences.

I can see that God gave me opportunities and skills and direction and friends and lots more. I have messed up over and over again and have been given more chances than I can count. I am getting older now and I still haven’t got much more clue about life than I was born with. I waste time and opportunities, I rely too much on other people and not enough on God. I know and understand a fair bit about God and his ways and deeds. I have known His presence, heard His voice, seen Him act. I still don’t know Him – I mean REALLY know Him. I am nice and people like me – but inside I am full of sludge.

As layers are peeled away and the reality of who I am is exposed, it’s too hard for many would-be friends. They try, they really do, but it is just too difficult to navigate the messy maze that is me.

So here I sit now, just listening to the faint sounds of silence and wondering about the futility of continuing to wade in endless circles while standing thigh deep in treacle.




Bird on post by the seaI wonder what the bird is thinking.

I’ve looked at this view many times, but he is seeing it from a perspective that is very different from my own.

I wish I could see my life from this kind of a vantage point.

To see a bigger picture laid out far beneath me like a map.

To sit above the confusion and see clearly what is really happening.

To be able to untangle the different threads in my life and make sense of it all.

On the other hand, maybe it is enough to know that my Heavenly Father has this view, holds my hand and leads me through the mess.

Giant Slayer


Little guy -v- Big guy

The story of David’s unlikely looking victory over the giant called Goliath, is very well-known. You may well have heard this story. Just in case you haven’t and you’d like to know what happens, I’ve put the whole story at the bottom in modern English.

This young guy David looks like he has no chance. He’s been spending his time looking after sheep, not learning how to fight. The other people on his side were experienced soldiers and they were all too scared to tackle the big bloke who is part of the opposition.

The soldiers who were on David’s side – there were about seven hundred of them who could sling a stone at a hair and not miss, all of them were expert archers and they could shoot arrows or sling stones with the left hand as well as the right hand. And they were too scared to deal with a big-mouthed show-off…..!!

So the little guy David doesn’t bother with a sword because he doesn’t know what to do with one. He kills the big guy with a sling and a stone. He’s been spending his time looking after sheep, not learning how to fight. He knew how to kill lions and bears who came looking for mutton and lamb for dinner though.

The odds didn’t look good but David beat Goliath anyway. That’s how the story goes.

This matters to me because…..?

Here is what I learned last Sunday from hearing someone talk about this story:

Characteristics of Giants

  • They are big and ugly
  • They trash talk
  • They fill the screen until you see nothing else
  • They have an unchanging strategy
  • They are relentless – they confront you daily
  • They don’t leave on their own
  • They can all be defeated

God has equipped you perfectly to defeat your giants.

The first step is the difference between victory and defeat.

For me, I felt this gave me some clues about recognising when I need to fight against things that are trying to negatively affect me.  Then my confidence was boosted so that I can actually entertain the idea that I’m in with a decent chance of beating whatever it is that’s getting to me.  My ‘giants’ are things like fear, lack of confidence, rejection and a few more things that are harder to put names to.

The key to winning lies in deciding which is bigger, my problem or my God? The biggest one is going to win. If I believe that my God is bigger than my problem, then I can beat anything.

I really do believe this in my head but the hard part is putting it into practice. It’s still good to be reminded that it is possible though – maybe I can sometimes hold on long enough to win.

The full story:

The Philistines were on one hill, the Israelites on the opposing hill, with the valley between them.

A giant nearly ten feet tall stepped out from the Philistine line into the open, Goliath from Gath. He had a bronze helmet on his head and was dressed in armor—126 pounds of it! He wore bronze shin guards and carried a bronze sword. His spear was like a fence rail—the spear tip alone weighed over fifteen pounds. His shield bearer walked ahead of him.

Goliath stood there and called out to the Israelite troops, “Why bother using your whole army? Am I not Philistine enough for you? And you’re all committed to Saul, aren’t you? So pick your best fighter and pit him against me. If he gets the upper hand and kills me, the Philistines will all become your slaves. But if I get the upper hand and kill him, you’ll all become our slaves and serve us. I challenge the troops of Israel this day. Give me a man. Let us fight it out together!”

When Saul and his troops heard the Philistine’s challenge, they were terrified and lost all hope.

Enter David. He was the son of Jesse the Ephrathite from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse, the father of eight sons, was himself too old to join Saul’s army. Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to war. The names of the three sons who had joined up with Saul were Eliab, the firstborn; next, Abinadab; and third, Shammah. David was the youngest son. While his three oldest brothers went to war with Saul, David went back and forth from attending to Saul to tending his father’s sheep in Bethlehem.

Each morning and evening for forty days, Goliath took his stand and made his speech.

One day, Jesse told David his son, “Take this sack of cracked wheat and these ten loaves of bread and run them down to your brothers in the camp. And take these ten wedges of cheese to the captain of their division. Check in on your brothers to see whether they are getting along all right, and let me know how they’re doing—Saul and your brothers, and all the Israelites in their war with the Philistines in the Oak Valley.”

David was up at the crack of dawn and, having arranged for someone to tend his flock, took the food and was on his way just as Jesse had directed him. He arrived at the camp just as the army was moving into battle formation, shouting the war cry. Israel and the Philistines moved into position, facing each other, battle-ready. David left his bundles of food in the care of a sentry, ran to the troops who were deployed, and greeted his brothers. While they were talking together, the Philistine champion, Goliath of Gath, stepped out from the front lines of the Philistines, and gave his usual challenge. David heard him.

The Israelites, to a man, fell back the moment they saw the giant—totally frightened. The talk among the troops was, “Have you ever seen anything like this, this man openly and defiantly challenging Israel? The man who kills the giant will have it made. The king will give him a huge reward, offer his daughter as a bride, and give his entire family a free ride.”

David, who was talking to the men standing around him, asked, “What’s in it for the man who kills that Philistine and gets rid of this ugly blot on Israel’s honor? Who does he think he is, anyway, this uncircumcised Philistine, taunting the armies of God-Alive?”

They told him what everyone was saying about what the king would do for the man who killed the Philistine.

Eliab, his older brother, heard David fraternizing with the men and lost his temper: “What are you doing here! Why aren’t you minding your own business, tending that scrawny flock of sheep? I know what you’re up to. You’ve come down here to see the sights, hoping for a ringside seat at a bloody battle!”

“What is it with you?” replied David. “All I did was ask a question.” Ignoring his brother, he turned to someone else, asked the same question, and got the same answer as before.

The things David was saying were picked up and reported to Saul. Saul sent for him.

“Master,” said David, “don’t give up hope. I’m ready to go and fight this Philistine.”

Saul answered David, “You can’t go and fight this Philistine. You’re too young and inexperienced—and he’s been at this fighting business since before you were born.”

David said, “I’ve been a shepherd, tending sheep for my father. Whenever a lion or bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I’d go after it, knock it down, and rescue the lamb. If it turned on me, I’d grab it by the throat, wring its neck, and kill it. Lion or bear, it made no difference—I killed it. And I’ll do the same to this Philistine pig who is taunting the troops of God-Alive. God, who delivered me from the teeth of the lion and the claws of the bear, will deliver me from this Philistine.”

Saul said, “Go. And God help you!”

Then Saul outfitted David as a soldier in armor. He put his bronze helmet on his head and belted his sword on him over the armor. David tried to walk but he could hardly budge.

David told Saul, “I can’t even move with all this stuff on me. I’m not used to this.” And he took it all off.

Then David took his shepherd’s staff, selected five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s pack, and with his sling in his hand approached Goliath.

As the Philistine paced back and forth, his shield bearer in front of him, he noticed David. He took one look down on him and sneered—a mere youngster, apple-cheeked and peach-fuzzed.

The Philistine ridiculed David. “Am I a dog that you come after me with a stick?” And he cursed him by his gods.

“Come on,” said the Philistine. “I’ll make roadkill of you for the buzzards. I’ll turn you into a tasty morsel for the field mice.”

David answered, “You come at me with sword and spear and battle-ax. I come at you in the name of God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel’s troops, whom you curse and mock. This very day God is handing you over to me. I’m about to kill you, cut off your head, and serve up your body and the bodies of your Philistine buddies to the crows and coyotes. The whole earth will know that there’s an extraordinary God in Israel. And everyone gathered here will learn that God doesn’t save by means of sword or spear. The battle belongs to God—he’s handing you to us on a platter!”

That roused the Philistine, and he started toward David. David took off from the front line, running toward the Philistine. David reached into his pocket for a stone, slung it, and hit the Philistine hard in the forehead, embedding the stone deeply. The Philistine crashed, facedown in the dirt.

That’s how David beat the Philistine—with a sling and a stone. He hit him and killed him. No sword for David!

 [1 Samuel, Chapter 17, Verses 3 to 50 – from The Message Bible]

Notes were taken while listening to Mike Mulheran speak – 23 March 2014 – just wanting to give credit where due