For the next several weeks, I am introducing some excerpts from my first book from Zondervan, Fear No Evil which releases in April.

This is from Chapter 3.

First Samuel 17 tells the story of the teenage-version of the psalmist David trying to talk King Saul into letting him charge into battle and take out the infamous giant Goliath, who for more than a month had been taunting the Israelites and mocking their God. The stakes of Saul’s decision were sky-high; whoever won in the fight against Goliath would claim victory for the entire battle. And David thought Saul would be wise to send a mere boy to accomplish this feat? Admittedly, David had a tough sales job in front of him.

In an effort to persuade the king, David began to rattle off his resume. Here is what he said: “Your servant has been keeping watch over his father’s sheep. And when a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it and struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth….”

Allow me to push “pause” on David’s speech for a second. Clearly I am no parks-and-wildlife expert, but this much I know: when a bear has food in its mouth, it is best not to attempt to remove it. This is a helpful piece of advice, don’t you think?

But David never once followed it.

“And when it turned on me,” he continued, as if it was a shocking turn of events for a provoked bear to fight back, “I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.”

It’s important to note here that David wasn’t referring to a mere bear cub. He was talking about a mature bear that he killed with his own two hands. And his slingshot, I suppose.

Every time I read about David’s courageous feats in the wild, I imagine what the other sheep in David’s father’s flock thought when they saw their shepherd take down a wild, angry bear. I happen to believe that they comprised the most trash-talking bunch of sheep around. I envision them sauntering up to lions and tigers and bears all over their neighborhood, saying, “You see what just happened to your buddy, Frank? Mm-hmmm. That’s our shepherd, boys! You want a piece of the action? Huh? You want some of this?”

In far more reverent ways, this is exactly how I feel when I walk through life with God. As I take each step of the journey by his side, I consider what he has done to those throughout history who have tried to mock him, and to Satan and all of his evil demons, I whisper, “Hey, boys. You want some of this?”

My friend, this is the same way you have to envision yourself. The God of all creation is flanking you on the left and on the right. He has gone before you, he promises to stay the course with you, and he has your back like nobody here on earth can. Our Shepherd—the Good Shepherd, our God—is the only one who can help us find the mountaintop when we find ourselves stumbling through the dark. There is a mountaintop, I assure you. But sometimes that long-awaited peak can only be appreciated when it is found as a result of enduring the valley first.

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