Earlier this evening I finished a book entitled David and Goliath, Underdogs, Misfits and The Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell. Every time I read one of his books, Blink, The Tipping Point, What The Dog Saw I immediately text friends of mine and say they must read this book. Which is exactly what I did.
Here’s a quote from the book.
“David and Goliath is about what happens when ordinary people confront giants. By ‘giants’ I mean powerful opponents of all kinds, from armies to mighty warriors to disability, misfortune and oppression.” Malcolm Gladwell – Chapter One
It would be impossible to try and recap the book and do it justice.
However, in one of the case studies Gladwell highlights the citizens of London, England, during World War II, when the Germans began to bomb London each night for fifty seven straight nights of continuous devastation. Thousands of bombs, thousands of lives lost and even more injured and left without shelter. The Germans had devised a strategy where they were counting on widespread panic, millions of people deserting the city and going to the countryside, halting commerce, industry and the every day existence of those who lived there.
There is a syndrome called “afraid of being afraid”, where it is fear alone that drives one to defeat. Not the giant but the fear of the giant.
The Germans thought the citizens of London would succumb to this fear. They did not.
J.T. MacCurdy studied this phenomenon in his book The Structure of Morale. The book breaks the people of London into three categories. Those who were killed, those who experienced near misses and those who experienced remote misses. Those killed were obviously most affected, the near misses were those who were injured or left with psychological effects and the third group, the remote misses which were those who had bombs drop all around them, many left without a home, living in subway stations at night yet refusing to turn away and run.
Those who would not leave, once they survived the first bomb they became emboldened by the attacks and carried on in defiance of the enemy. Many reported that after they survived the first bomb, they felt invincible. Germany discovered that you can not defeat an enemy like that, one that refuses to be defeated.
In my own life, going through a lay off and being unemployed for the second time in less than three years, this time it is certainly different. The first time I was filled with fear afraid to even look at the giant that was screaming at me, that I was going to die and leave others left behind with nothing but the memory of a man in fear. But I survived it and I became oblivious to the bombs falling after I discovered that not only had I survived but I was stronger then ever. My resolve to not only survive but to win was off the chart.
During this second bombing of potential devastation by economic layoffs I refused to run from the bombing. In fact, like David running toward Goliath I began running toward my giant, stone already in the sling. I do not fear, I am not afraid of being afraid.
Why am I not? And why should you not be?
Here is why.
“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.” Psalm 118:7-8
It can not be any plainer than that. David said I refuse to be afraid. God had brought David through so much, would could a mere man do to him. Absolutely nothing.
Tomorrow, write this verse down and place it near you for you to see the entire day.
Then ask God to help you recognize the giants in your life and for you to see that yes they are tall and yes they are huge and yes they are loud. But they are not you, they are not the God in you.
Two books you should read. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell and the Holy Bible, inspired by a Holy God who empowers us so that we do not have to be afraid of being afraid.