Slinging takes an extraordinary amount of skill and practice. But in experienced hands, the sling is a devastating weapon. Skilled slingers can hit birds in mid-flight or a coin from as far away as they could see it. An experienced slinger could kill or seriously injure a target at a distance of up to two hundred yards. As David ran toward Goliath in one of the most epic Bible battles, he moved with speed and maneuverability, not weighted down by heavy armor. He puts a rock into his sling and whips it around and around, faster and faster at six or seven revolutions per second, aiming his projectile at Goliath’s forehead— the giant’s only point of vulnerability.
In contrast, Goliath had a serious medical condition, acromegaly— a disease caused by a benign tumor of the pituitary gland. The tumor causes an overproduction of human growth hormone that caused Goliath’s extraordinary size. The common side effects of acromegaly include restricted sight and double vision. As David ran toward Goliath, powered by courage and faith, and Goliath nearly blind and weighted down by heavy armor, Goliath was unaware that it was he that was the underdog. (Gladwell, Malcolm. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants).
In life, at first glance, we see our circumstances and environment our causes for being the underdog in our story of life. We are not born into money. We are not as smart as everyone else. We lack faith because we have not had the earth shattering experiences that others have had. We do not have a “normal” family life. To compound the problem, we look on social media to find how everyone else’s lives are so perfect. They have everything figured out. It is easy to paint ourselves as the underdogs in the stories of our life.
An optical filter is a piece of plastic or glass that can be placed over the lens of a camera to change how the picture looks. A filter can be used to increase or decrease an amount of light or an intensity of colors in an image. We often apply filters to our lives, our circumstances, and our environment. We apply filters so that we only see how perfect other peoples’ lives are. We apply filters to only see our trials and hardships. We apply filters to only see what we do not have and cannot see what we do have. We apply filters to see only the bad and none of the good.
As we apply these filters to how we see our lives, we will see ourselves as the underdog. We will see ourselves as the underprivileged. We will see ourselves as unloved, uncared for, and forgotten. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather than using the filters provided by Satan to view our lives, if we use the filters provided by our Heavenly Father we will see that we are not the underdog in life. We will see the beauty of life around us. We will see all of the blessings from our Heavenly Father each day. We will see how much we are loved by so many. We will see how amazing our life is and how many opportunities we have in life.
President Monson shared in the October 2012 general conference that:
We are blessed with so very much. And yet it is sometimes difficult to view the problems and permissiveness around us and not become discouraged. I have found that, rather than dwelling on the negative, if we will take a step back and consider the blessings in our lives, including seemingly small, sometimes overlooked blessings, we can find greater happiness.
We are each truly blessed by our Heavenly Father. He loves us so much and has blessed us with so much. If we will apply the correct filters in our lives so that we can see all that our Heavenly Father has given us, we will see that as David, we are not the underdog in the story of life. We are the top dogs in life, blessed with the backing from our Heavenly Father to overcome any hardship in life and be victorious. Let each of us decide to be as David and have faith to slay the lions, the bears, and the Goliaths in our lives. As we do so, we will be victorious in returning to our Heavenly Father.
The greatest filter in the world … is the personal internal filter that comes from a deep and abiding testimony of our Heavenly Father’s love and our Savior’s atoning sacrifice for each of us.
—Sister Linda S. Reeves