The Secret to Great Faith

 “Jets were invented by people too inexperienced to know what couldn’t be done.”

So reads a line in an old Invention and Technology magazine. One of the main points of the article was that most engineers were preoccupied with piston-driven turbo chargers and had given up on the idea of producing a workable jet engine. It took two young, inexperienced men—one in Great Britain and one in Germany—to simultaneously develop their visions for high speed flight. Had the Germans been able to get their fighter jet—the Me 262 into production sooner, World War II might have been won by the Nazis.

photo credit: Wikipedia

The line between folly and genius can be a fine one in the mind of a young person. While young people can certainly have a tendency toward brainless actions, their audacious faith often puts older folks to shame. So it was with the shepherd boy. David understood the secret to great faith.

“David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.” 1 Samuel 17:32-33 (NASB)

Saul’s line of reasoning made sense, but David’s audacious faith won the day. A short time later, Goliath lay dead. The Israelite army, inspired by David’s courageous victory, then routed the Philistines, driving them home in shame. The giant, Goliath, was defeated by a young shepherd boy of great faith who was too inexperienced to know that it couldn’t be done.

While it appears on the surface that inexperience gave David the foolish audacity to face the human monster, it was actually his experience that filled his heart with courage. David didn’t simply presume that God would come to his aid in time of need—he had won many smaller battles by drawing upon God’s grace.

“But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:34-37b (NASB)

ExperienceDo you seek to make an impact in this world for God? The key lies not in trying to do great things, but in faithfully serving Him through even the little things. The minor battles in our lives teach us to lay down our self-sufficiency and to draw upon our Master’s grace. As we overcome enemies such as bitterness, selfishness, and judgmental attitudes, our God will open the way for us to defeat larger enemies. As we step out in loving obedience in the small areas of life, we set the stage for great exploits.  The secret to great faith is to exercise faith though the daily challenges of life.

David wasn’t the only person who could have confronted Goliath on that fateful day, but he was the only one on the battlefield who had walked with God and learned to draw upon heaven’s ability. All of the men in Saul’s army had reasons why they couldn’t defeat the giant. David had one reason why he could–he had learned to trust God in the little things. The rest is history.

Fall 1993, Volume 9/Number 2, pp.46-47