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I’ve Been Thinking … Finding Your Rock

“The Rock, the Road and the Rabbi,” chronicles Kathie Lee Gifford’s personal journey to the land of Israel where she went to discover a deeper understanding of the Bible’s ancient text. In this excerpt, she recounts the moment her late husband, Frank, had his spiritual awakening.

The next day of our Israel tour, we traveled by bus and then foot (uphill again!) to the Valley of Elah—the place where David famously defeated Goliath. Nobody was grumbling anymore. Not even Frank. We had learned a great truth the day before: the harder the climb, the greater the blessing on the mountaintop.

When we finally reached the ridge where the Israelites had looked out with terror across the valley to where the Philistines waited to attack, the first thing that struck me was how completely unchanged it is. There is nothing there but the imagination you bring with you. And as you recall the familiar story of David and Goliath recorded in 1 Samuel 17, you can truly envision the drama that took place there some three thousand years ago.

Ray has the extraordinary gift of enabling people to see a familiar story with new eyes.

He explained, “Many people think the miracle in the story is how David, a young shepherd boy, was able to defeat the giant, Goliath—the champion of the Philistines, Israel’s enemy. But the truth is that any shepherd worth his salt already knew how to defeat his foes. Shepherds were trained from their earliest days to protect their flocks from any enemy, including lions and bears. The Scriptures tell us that David had already done this. In 1 Samuel 17:36, David tells King Saul that he ‘has killed both the lion and the bear.’

“So while King Saul and the entire Israelite army cowered in fear for forty days, this young shepherd, who was probably between twelve and fourteen years old, spurned the king’s offer of his own armor and instead reached into the Brook of Elah, picked up five smooth stones, placed them in his shepherd’s pouch, and approached the giant without fear. David said to Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:45, ‘You come against me with 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.’”

Ray paused to let all of this sink in.

“The miracle of David and Goliath is that David had an intimate relationship with the living God!” he bellowed. “That’s what makes a miracle!”

Then Ray instructed all of us to go down to the brook and pick up a stone. By now we had learned to do what he said without questioning him. I will never forget the look in Frank’s eyes as this man who was in six Halls of Fame obediently reached down to pick up his stone, just as a young shepherd boy had done three thousand years ago.

Ray also picked up a stone from the brook. As he held the stone in his hand, he looked at each of us, as if to the core of our souls, and asked: “What is your stone? Where are you going to throw it?”

He literally “rocked” our world. Frank and I and everyone in the group were never the same again.

This experience lit a fire in my belly, and it satisfied a deep longing in Frank’s soul. Though the rest of the trip was profoundly moving and illuminating, it was this truth he learned in the Valley of Elah—that religion is nothing without relationship—that gave Frank a strong sense of peace and purpose until the day he died. Finally, at the age of eighty-two, he had found his stone.

Taken from The Rock, The Road, and The Rabbi by Kathie Lee Gifford Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.