09-08-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

Life can be difficult.

It can be tempting to look at all the advantages others seem to have - better connections, deeper pockets, good looks, greater intelligence, inspiring creativity - and think God couldn’t possibly use to some great end.

The book of Wisdom asks a simple question: “Who can know God’s counsel, or who can know what the Lord intends?”

I recently reread the book “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants” by Malcolm Gladwell. (Despite its name, it is a secular book.) In one of the first chapters, he reminds the reader of every obvious advantage Goliath had: his height was estimated to be closer to seven feet tall than six, he was muscle-bound, gifted at the art of close combat, and wore only the thickest armor and carried the most devastating armor.

Then, Gladwell shares the other side of the story. David was a agile and gifted slinger. Experienced slingers of the time “could kill or seriously injure a target at a distance of up to two hundred yards. The Romans even had a special set of tongs made just to remove stones that had been embedded in some poor soldier’s body by a sling. Imagine standing in front of a Major League Baseball pitcher as he aims a baseball at your head. That’s what facing a slinger was like— only what was being thrown was not a ball of cork and leather but a solid rock.” Goliath, a bulky giant further weighed down by thick metal plating, was a sitting duck.

David knew His strengths. He knew his weaknesses. With the understanding of who God made him to be, he was confident God would not let him down.

We need to stop despairing at what God hasn’t seen fit to give us and focus our efforts on the multitude of advantages we have been given. Like the lack of armor increasing agility, often a hardship forges a gift.

David didn’t do what was expected. He didn’t walk up to Goliath and get decimated. We shouldn’t do what is expected of us either. We must pray and ask the Lord to guide us to use our unique combination of gifts and talents for the Lord. Only then will we know God’s counsel and what the Lord intends for our lives.

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