In light of the COVID-19 virus and protesting across the nation, let us remember to encourage our youth that we are going to be alright and better days are coming.

A remarkable story in the Bible, “David and Goliath,” shows how the power of God works in our lives, especially the lives of young people if they only put Christ first. Saul was the King of Israel, and one of Israel’s chief enemies was a nation of people, the Philistines.

Jesse, the Bethlehemite, sent his baby boy David on an errand to take his older brother food and to see how they fared. David, a teenager and keeper of the sheep, went on his way to the Valley of Elah.

There he heard Goliath, boasting and bragging and saying there is no need of our armies fighting — just send forth a man to fight me. If your warrior defeats me, then all of the Philistines will bow down and serve Israel. However, if I defeat your warrior, then all of Israel will be servants to the Philistines.

Everyone in Israel’s camp was afraid and none of them had the confidence or courage to go out and face Goliath except David. David told King Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of Goliath, I will go and fight.”

As the story goes, David with his simple sling and five smooth stones headed toward the valley of Elah to do battle. And in an instant, it was all over. David had defeated the great giant.

David had taken his first stone, put it in his sling shot and twirled it until the aim and velocity was such that when it left his slingshot, it hit Goliath in the forehead rendering him unconscious. David captures Goliath’s sword, cuts off his head and gives Israel the victory in the name of the Lord.

I must raise the question of what are the giants that our youth have to face in these challenging times?

We know for them it is not a war against giant human beings, but rather, there are giants which serve as their enemy seeking to destroy their bright future: temptations to do drugs and alcohol, their response to being bullied, racism and prejudices, family values and making good grades in school. The list is endless. The giants in our youth’s lives are more spiritual than physical.

David’s five stones give us some answers.

The first stone is the stone of Prayer. Praying is the most powerful tool to sustain our youth and to help them reach their goals. Prayer will give them victory over the giants in their lives.

Second, there is the stone of priority. David did all he did to the glory of God. Putting God first is so important. For youth, it should be something like this: God, family, education, friends, sports or some extracurricular activity.

Then, there is the stone of Passion. All his life, David had a passion for the things He was called to do. That means he put his heart and soul into all he did.

There is also the stone of Persistence. We must encourage our youth to never give up. If at first (they) don’t succeed, encourage them to try, try again.

Finally, it is so important that our youth stay Focused. David did not concentrate on Goliath. Rather, he concentrated on the God who had delivered him so many times. Proverbs declares: “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your path.”

Our youth are the key to a better future. Let us do all we can to prepare them.

The Rev. Carey N. Ingram is the pastor at Lovejoy Baptist Church.

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