Meeting your Goliath
Two statues of David offer insight on how to face our own Goliaths.
Sometimes, like any of us, I have to come face to face with Goliath. I'm getting better at it.Skip to next paragraph
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My husband and I spent some time in Italy, and two of the most iconic images I have from that trip are those of the statues of David we saw. One was sculpted by Donatello and the other by Michelangelo.
Donatello's small statue is that of a young boy. Looking down and off to the side, he stands with his foot on Goliath's head. The simplicity and humility expressed are apparent. And the placement of his foot on his enemy's head indicates dominion, which in David's case is the dominion of spiritual authority.
We also saw Michelangelo's famous portrayal of David. In contrast to Donatello's, it is tall, muscled, and looks more like an older teenager than a boy. There is no sign of Goliath. Yet this statue, too, is equally striking. To me, it expresses precision, confidence, and serenity.
Both statues captured David. He was both humble and confident; physically capable as well as innocent and eager. He was peaceful in his trust in God. The childlike willingness, combined with his spiritual authority (achieved by his desire to glorify God), enabled him to triumph over his enemy.
In rereading the Bible's account recently, I saw the unfoldment of events through a different light. David was a young shepherd boy going up against an established warrior. Goliath was bigger, more experienced, and more terrifying. David was just a kid! What on earth was he thinking?
But that's what's so great. David wasn't reasoning from a human or egotistical standpoint. He wasn't wondering, "What can I, a boy, do against this huge man?" Instead, he acknowledged the presence and absolute supreme power of God. David seemed almost outraged as he questioned his brothers and their friends about Goliath's identity: "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (see I Samuel 17). David was certain that God was present and powerful. And it was this humble, trusting, willing state of mind that enabled David to prevail easily over the Philistine.
Once I had a small-meets-big difficulty at work when I needed help from a superior who was well known for being dishonest, domineering, and backstabbing. He was a "Goliath" – someone more experienced, bigger (more senior in position than I), and frightening. Based on his reputation (and a few run-ins I'd had with him previously), it was tempting to expect a negative outcome from our meeting.
However, I prayed, asking God to help me see what He loved about this man. I acknowledged there was one Mind, God, and that both this man and I were receptive to Mind's direction. Mary Baker Eddy described Mind, another word for God, in part, as follows: "...the one God; not that which is in man, but the divine Principle, or God, of whom man is the full and perfect expression ..." ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 591). Since each of us is the perfect expression of God, who created everyone wholly good, we could each see only one another's God-given perfection.
These prayers made me realize that, like David, I was endowed with the authority that comes from putting God first, seeking only to glorify Him. With that attitude, I calmly entered this person's office – and exited the meeting smiling. He'd been helpful and kind, and the situation was resolved quickly and harmoniously. With a simple, heartfelt prayer, that appearance of "Goliath" had been vanquished.
When I face a difficulty that seems too big – a health challenge, financial or relationship difficulties, or anything else – I often think about David and Goliath. I remember the qualities in the two statues (simplicity, humility, dominion, precision, confidence, and serenity) and strive to express them more. I pray to purify my motives because my actions will be successful in proportion as they are fueled by my desire to honor and glorify God. Then, when I'm peaceful, I can move forward with confidence.