Sometimes God has to use simple words to get through to me. Case in point.
One of the things I like to do after dinner is to engage the family in a brief time of devotions. Given the age of our boys, we’re reading from a children’s picture story version of the Bible. The other day I was reading the story of King Saul, David, and Goliath. Keep in mind that the editors of the children’s Bible condensed the whole 58-verse saga down to about eight illustrated pages with maybe six words on each page.
I read the story out loud with a degree of enthusiasm to keep it animated, but I’ll admit in the back of my mind I was mentally checking out. I was thinking, “Wow, this is really simple stuff.” You know, it’s basic, elementary material I learned years ago. Not the sort of reading that would inspire deep thoughts—or so I assumed.
Frankly, I checked my watch more than once, feeling as if the whole exercise was lacking in depth; just a kids’ story with paper-thin insight. In my defense, I should point out I was feeling a ton of pressure as I dealt with some rather heavy issues with the transition of leadership at Focus on the Family from Dr. Dobson to myself. That evening I was feeling weighted down and in need of substantial guidance from the Lord. Which is why I was ready to get to some serious study of the Word.
Then again, I knew it’s a good thing for a dad to read to his kids so I stuck with it. About that point in the story, I found myself reading how David tried on Saul’s armor before engaging Goliath in battle. David didn’t like Saul’s heavy armor so he threw it off, picked up a slingshot, and slew the giant. (Like I said, this is the kid’s Bible paraphrase version. The full story encompasses much more detail.)
That’s when God spoke to my spirit. He gave me the insight that I’m kind of in a similar situation as Saul and David. Try as I may, I can’t suit-up in Dr. Dobson’s “armor”—his training, his management style, his creativity, or his ability in the area of content creation are distinctive to Dr. Dobson. I’m not him. Besides, what has served him well for thirty years won’t necessarily work for me. I’ve got to pick up my trusty slingshot—my unique background and skill set—and then go tackle the giants.
The boys were learning about Saul and David, but the Lord was speaking to my heart through this simple children’s picture Bible to help me at a critical time in my thinking. Suddenly, I started following the story and studying the illustrations with a renewed attentiveness. The interesting thing I noted was how Saul’s armor was too heavy for David, which is exactly the same sense that I had regarding Dr. Dobson’s armor. It was a bit heavy for me.
It dawned on me that Dr. Dobson has had 30 years to perfect his profession and leadership of Focus on the Family. I, by contrast, had to hit the ground running and felt overwhelmed trying to get up to speed in the role as President. But through this story, I realized there was no way I could ever fill Dr. Dobson’s shoes. Nor should I try. Instead, as I closed the book and prayed with my boys, I knew what I had to do. I would take my slingshot—the gifting which God has given me—and say, “All right, Lord, what’s next for Focus on the Family?”
As He answers that prayer, we’ll go and slay those giants.