Pros: Inspirational, Fast Paced, Easy to follow
Cons: Unstructured writing style may not appeal to all readers
We all have giants in our lives; obstacles or challenges that at times, threaten to destroy us, or at least, rob us of our peace and joy. Author Max Lucado, in his book Facing Your Giants: A David and Goliath Story for Everyday People, uses anecdotes from the life King David, the greatest of all the Hebrew rulers, and one of the most inspirational characters in the Bible, to provide practical guidance for dealing with our Goliath-sized giants.
Lucado is Pastor of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas and the New York Times Best selling author of numerous inspirational books. He has also written a variety of Christian themed children's books, a host of spiritually themed gift books, several works of fiction, and has served as a general editor for several Bibles.
In this book, Lucado opens with the David's well known confrontation with the Philistine Giant Goliath in the Valley of Elah, as chronicled in the Old Testament book of First Samuel.
"You come against me with a 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 hand you over to me and I will strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beast of the earth, 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." (1 Samuel 17-45-47 NIV)
As is his usual writing style, Lucado takes illustrations from the Bible such as the one above, and applies them to everday life situations in order to teach Biblical principles; in this case, focusing on God and his strength, rather than relying on your own strength, in facing your daily challenges such as unemployment, abandonment, sexual abuse, and depression.
In subsequent chapters, Lucado takes the reader through the the life experiences of King David, using him as an example of someone who faced fierce enemies like King Saul and violent armies, struggled with pride, arrogance, and separation from God, gave into temptation and committed adultery and murder, and yet, because of his repentant spirit and unshakable faith, was called "a man after God's on heart."
This fast paced, 232 page book, is divided into 19 brief chapters with an Afterward, study guide. and notes, taking the reader all the way from the Valley of Elah to Bethlehem, and the birth of Christ. Lucado adopts a fluid, unstructured, conversational, tone in order drive home his points, as illustrated in the following excerpt:
"Goliaths still roam our world. Debt. Disasters, Dialysis, Danger, Deceit, Depression. Super-sized challenges that swagger and strut, still pilfer sleep and embezzle peace, and liposuction joy. But they can't dominate you. You must know how to deal with them. You face giants by facing God first. Focus on giants-you stumble; focus on God-your giants tumble."
He goes on in the last chapter to provide 5 practical steps for bringing down your Goliath's; replaying past victories, saturating yourself in prayer, seeing your struggle as an opportunity for God to show his Grace, facing your struggles head-on, rather than running away, and practicing persistence.
The book ends with a study guide that poses thought-provoking questions from each chapter. It is an excellent resource for bible studies or small group discussion.
As is obvious from the title, this book expounds on some of the same Christian principles as the popular sports themed movie Facing The Giants. While I would not rate it as one of Lucado's strongest and most powerful works, and Lucado's loosely structured writing style may not appeal to all readers, he does a good job presenting King David as a deeply flawed character, with which we can all identify, and illustrates God's ability work in and through David's, as well as our own, human frailties by his strength, to produce a victorious warrior.
The Great House of God (includes links to other reviews)