Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Challenges come in all sizes, from the gargantuan to the nearly invisible. But their size only indirectly affects their difficulty. David’s was larger than a bread basket, much, much larger, and he went by the name Goliath. “‘So pick your best fighter and pit him against me. If he gets the upper hand and kills me, the Philistines will all become your slaves. But if I get the upper hand and kill him, you’ll all become our slaves and serve us. I challenge the troops of Israel this day. Give me a man. Let us fight it out together!’ When Saul and his troops heard the Philistine’s challenge, they were terrified and lost all hope. While they were talking together, the Philistine champion, Goliath of Gath, stepped out from the front lines of the Philistines, and gave his usual challenge. David heard him.” (1 Samuel 17:8b-11, 23 The Message) We know the story so well it’s easy to fill in the missing pieces, easy because we already know the ending.
Go to the other extreme, one of immeasurably less consequence, but one that offered a challenge just the same: photographing warblers like this Black-throated Gray Warbler and the Nashville Warbler. Any nature photographer would put this family high on the list of challenges due to their diminutive size and frustrating habit of being constantly on the move. But captured they were, and with it, a certain amount of satisfaction for having met the challenge.
James, in contrast, certainly wasn’t writing about photographic trials, his focus was upon spiritual realities that carry consequences much larger than even any Goliath could offer. “Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.” (1:12 The Message)