Updated: Dec 14, 2021
You may have heard the expression, “every cloud has a silver lining.” That’s probably one of the most famous of our modern proverbs. It was coined by John Milton, a 17th century British writer. It implies that even the most foreboding dark cloud has a ray of sunshine behind it, causing the silver lining effect.
That expression underlies a sense of optimism and it reminds me of something Lieutenant General Chesty Puller once said to his troops. He served in the United States Marine Corps and once found that he and his men were surrounded by enemy troops. Instead of despairing of the situation, he said to them, “We are surrounded; that simplifies our problem.” I love that optimism! I guess he figured that, no matter what direction they shot at, they would hit the enemy!
Great military leaders often display this type of optimism. They never stop believing in winning and find that silver lining in even the most difficult situations. It is in their DNA. Ideas and solutions flow from that glimmer of optimism found deep in their souls.
King David was a great military leader. Even as a boy, he displayed his optimism in battle. Not in himself; not in Israel’s army; but in the Lord of hosts. In chapter 17 of the book of 1 Samuel, verses 45 through 47, it explains David's optimism: his faith was in the Lord. “David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here 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.” David never doubted for a second God’s ability to deliver Israel from Goliath and the Philistines. Nor did he ever think that he was strong enough to defeat the giant by himself. He trusted in God for the victory, and the Lord delivered it to him.
We, also, need to trust the Lord when we face our battles. They may seem overwhelming at times, well beyond our ability to survive. Yet the Lord is the same Lord today as He was all those years ago. He will defeat our "giants" and give to us the victory; we only need Him. So grab your slingshot, pick up some smooth stones, but put your faith in the Lord.