Wednesday, August 10, 2005

For those of us who have traveled many summers with our Native American outreach team, it will always be remembered as the Night of the Bat. I was with a team of about 35 young Native Americans on a reservation in the Northwest. Most of us were staying in tents or teepees, and a few girls were sleeping in the dining hall. A few of us were in that hall wrapping up for the night, and suddenly a bat somehow got in the room and began doing aerial laps around the room. The reactions were priceless. The girls crawled into their sleeping bags, they covered up, and they screamed like "wolf man" was on the loose. There, huddled in one corner, was this mound of moving, screaming sleeping bags. And the rest of the camp was waking up fast. Everyone was running toward the dining hall to see what awful terror had invaded.

Meanwhile, the bat continued to dart and fly and dive around that room. Some of the guys tried to intercept the bat by throwing bath towels in the air. Needless to say, that was totally ineffective. One team leader was wildly swinging a mop handle in the air. It’s great exercise, but the bat soared on, continuing to terrorize the girls in the room. Except for my wife - Ozark Mountain Woman! She watched that bat make a couple of circuits around the room, she raised a broom above her head, and she took one mighty swing - bam! Direct hit! The dazed bat was taken outside in one of those useless bath towels. And the next morning, one of our Native leaders conducted a brief ceremony to honor my wife with an Indian name - Kills With One Swing.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Hitting it Head-On."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Samuel 17, one of the most famous stories in the Bible. The Philistine giant, Goliath, has intimidated the entire Israeli Army, taunting them to send just one man to challenge him. The terms - the loser’s side surrenders to the winner’s side. For weeks, no Jewish soldier has stepped up. And then a young shepherd boy comes with a care package for his brothers, and he steps up to take this overwhelming challenge. Little David, with no armor, no military training, no sword - only a slingshot, takes on the giant. Verses 47 and 48, "'All those gathered here,' David said, 'will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give all of you into our hands.' As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him." You know the rest - one stone kills this fearsome enemy.

I love this - he "ran quickly toward" the challenge. David knew that’s what you have to do when there’s a giant challenge in your life. Sometimes there’s no way to meet that challenge but to hit it head-on - like my warrior wife with the bat attack. Now the bat wasn’t exactly Goliath, but it was the challenge of that particular night. Hiding sure didn’t solve the problem. Lame attempts to deal with it didn’t solve the problem. Only one thing worked - hitting it head-on.

That may be the only approach that will work for you in the challenge you’re facing right now. Maybe your giant is a mountain of financial problems, or difficulty in your marriage, or a part of your life that’s just pumping out an overload of stress, something from the past that haunts you, a relationship problem, a sin that’s getting stronger and stronger in your life, something that’s just bigger than you are, something that’s either out of control or very easily could get out of control.

Like the night of the bat - or the days of Goliath - hiding from it isn’t going to solve it. Maybe you need to stop running from it, living in denial; living in escape. Half-hearted half-steps will not meet this challenge. It’s time to do a David. Run toward that challenge, proclaiming every step of the way, "The battle is the Lord’s. He will give this giant into our hands." If, that is, you stop, face it, run toward it, and throw everything you’ve got into bringing it down. Take it from my wife, the only way to deal with your challenge is to hit it head-on.