What a weekend of FA Cup football action we had just recently!
We hear the old cliche’s rolled out about “The oldest football competition in the world” and “The Magic of the Cup”, but the most feared cliche by fans and players of the club’s biggest clubs, is the dreaded “Giant Killing!”
Giant Killing’s, for those of you who aren’t as football savvy as you are in other sports, is where a club of smaller stature beats a club of much larger stature. In a competition like the FA Cup, the opportunity of a giant killing is much more prevalent, as amateur clubs sometimes get drawn in ties against Premier League opposition.
In the latest round of action, we saw no less than FIVE giant killings! Wolverhampton Wanderers, in the lower reaches of the second tier, beat national giants, Liverpool. Oxford United, from the fourth tier of English football beat Newcastle United, while Millwall, of the third tier beat Premier League opposition in Watford. And these weren’t even the biggest shocks of the weekend!
Both Lincoln City and Sutton United, semi-professional clubs from non-league football (that is, non-profession teams, not affiliated to the English Football League) beat Brighton and Hove Albion and Leeds United respectively, both teams having hugely successful seasons in the Championship, and hoping to be promoted to the Premier League by the end of the season.
It cannot be understated what a massive achievement this is for these two minnows. The players of these clubs are likely to be part time players, working secondary jobs alongside playing football. To beat teams of players at the very top level of English football is not an easy feat!
Giant Killing’s garnered their name from the famous Bible story, David and Goliath, a story even known by those who have never even picked up a Bible! In short, when the King’s Army refused to take on Goliath (a nine foot tall giant) in battle, the only person brave enough to step up and fight was a young shepherd boy, David. Armed only with a slingshot and stone, and too small to even fit into proper armour, the boy defeated the giant against all the odds! The only thing David professed to have on his side, aside from years of experience protecting his sheep, was God’s presence.
In life, we often face circumstances where we feel the odds are stacked against us. It may be health, finance, a dispute at work, a grievance with a neighbour, or any other testing circumstance! And often in those times, we see no way out, no solution.
The story of David and Goliath, and the example set by those players of those small football clubs, show us that in trial, we should continue to persevere. In recent times, I have heard the quote “Don’t tell God how big your problem is, tell you problem how big your God is!” I believe this is what David did as he slayed his giant!
In life, we will face giant’s. But no giant is insurmountable. Trust God, and be a giant killer!