Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Human children are born knowing how to swim. Well, kind of. . . Babies have something called a "dive reflex" that  causes them to hold their breath and open their eyes under water. They have another thing called the "swim reflex" that lasts for about six months after they are born.  It causes them to move their arms and legs in a swimming motion when placed on their tummies in water. While you can't depend on these reflexes to keep children safe, getting them in the water early helps them remember what they already know how to do.

Today I revisited the story of David and Goliath for the first time in a long time. I was reviewing some curriculum for our Summer Sunday School program and the sample lesson used this familiar story. As I looked over the material I remembered how this story had inspired me as a kid - one young boy doing what a whole army of soldiers couldn't! I loved it, and was convinced by those who shared the story with me that God could use me to do big things too! My daughters, and their church friends from elementary school still like to reminisce about the summer they knocked Goliath down at Vacation Bible School.  They too felt much empowered by the story and the experience.

The material I looked at today approached the story with a different twist - it depicted David recognizing that Goliath was a big predator, just like the lions and wolves and bears that threatened his sheep.  From this perspective, David went into the situation already equipped for it, and did what he already knew how to do: brought down a predator twice his size!

Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" by the creator. We are equipped for far more than we can imagine. No one can imagine herself giving birth - but she does it. We can't imagine caring for a  child with physical or cognitive limitations but people do it with compassion and love and even joy, every day.  We rarely imagine ourselves as single parents or unemployed breadwinners or having bodies wracked by pain or disease, yet, when those circumstances arise, we often find that we were already issued some extra capacity of stamina, patience, faith, ingenuity, love, humor, or courage which is exactly what is needed to carry us through the circumstance.

Adults and children alike often wonder why they have to face a particular trial. Adults have the advantage of looking back over past trials and seeing how they worked out;  children don't have that perspective. Help your children see what they are able to do when challenged and marvel at how God has equipped them. Give thanks together for the extra helping of humor or inch of ingenuity that they may never have found without this particular trial. Perhaps one of the ways God equipped your child for trials was putting you with each other; after all, you were equipped to be this child's parent long before he or she was conceived.

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