David’s victory over Goliath is a fascinating story. The ‘rise-of-the-underdog’ theme within its narrative is a compelling metaphor throughout history. The story is replete with all ingredients of a super thriller. David’s triumph over Goliath – a champion of Gath – is not merely a story about the victory of an underage challenger over a formidable champion. It is not even about the defeat of an insolent bully who terrorized a spiritually impoverished nation. Rather, it is an extraordinary story about how an ordinary ‘shepherd-boy’ with a rare display of his faith in God resuscitated the faith of an entire Nation. Make no mistake; the story of David’s victory over Goliath is a fascinating story of what (child-like) faith in God can do.
In all probability, David could have been between 15 – 17 years of age; At least, he was still in his teens. References within the narrative by way of authorial comment (the youngest 17v14), King Saul’s cautionary remark (you are only a boy 17v33) and Goliath’s derision (you are only a boy17v42) are indicative of David’s relatively lesser age than the required age for military service (Numbers 13:3). However, David demonstrated the power of faith before all the people who followed King Saul to war. This ‘shepherd-lad’, barely in his teens and relatively inexperienced in the mechanics of warfare, singlehandedly re-wrote the script with an undisputable display of the presence and power of God. A nation desperate for a warrior to fight the mighty Goliath witnessed the rise of an unlikely ‘faith-hero’.
Can children and young people inspire faith? Children and young adults are not amongst our priority in the life and Mission of the Church. But, they have the potential of being faith-heroes. Surely, they can inspire our faith, redeem us from inaction and energize our Mission. The problem is not in their ‘unwillingness’ but rather in our mindset and praxis. This compelling narrative is both insightful and instructive about the promise and potential of faith in the lives of children and young adults. We (can) learn precious lessons, particularly to widen our outlook on children/young adults, lookout for these unlikely heroes within our own congregations/families and most importantly learn from them so as to re-discover the joy of returning to faith in God.