Never Give Up!
Duane Vander Klok
Why does God allow hardship, injustice and adversity? Even Christians sometimes struggle with this question. While we may not always understand the “why,” the Bible shows us how we can build a strong faith in God and know that He will walk with us through every difficulty we face.
One of the things we need to remember is that God is God in the good times and in the bad times, whether we are on the top of the mountain or in the deepest valley. As God spoke to Joshua, He also says to us today: “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid…for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
You see, success doesn’t come from the absence of problems; it comes from the presence of the One who goes through them with you! How you respond to adversity – whether great or small – will determine how successful you are in life. When difficulties seem overwhelming, the choice is yours: will you give up, or will you go through?
Difficulties are Unavoidable
Adversity comes in many forms. Natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes cause one type of suffering. The Bible indicates in Matthew 5:45 that these types of things come upon both the just and the unjust. Sin, such as self-centeredness, prejudice, pride and greed, results in wars, disputes and people doing all sorts of bad things to one another.
As if all these were not enough, many people suffer as a result of their own actions. When someone breaks God’s law, whether a natural law or a moral law, the result is pain and suffering. For example, if you were to defy the law of gravity by jumping out of a plane without a parachute, you would most likely die.
There are also everyday difficulties that we all encounter even when we are walking in God’s will. Certainly you can relate to the person who tells the story of their washing machine, dishwasher, and car all breaking down in the same week. These are just “normal” problems that happen to everyone.
Push Past Failures
There is a lesson to be learned from one man who faced many hardships. At age 23, this man failed in his bid for the legislature. When he was 24, he failed in business. At age 25, he became a legislator, and it seemed as though things were getting brighter for him. However, within a year, his sweetheart died. He later suffered a nervous breakdown; and at 29, he faced another political defeat. Not only that, but at the ages of 31 and 34, his election attempts were also fruitless.
This man was elected to Congress at age 37, but at 39, he was again defeated. He ran for the Senate when he was 47 and again at age 49, but failed both times. You may have heard of this man. His name was Abraham Lincoln, and at the age of 51, he became the 16th President of the United States.
Do you think anyone would even remember his name today if he hadn’t persevered through all those losses? Probably not. But because he did not give up in his darkest hours, he was especially well qualified to lead the United States of America out of some of her darkest hours. Despite all of his failures, history records him as a success!
Build a Life of Faith
You can build a life of faith that will enable you to persevere and be successful no matter what you face. Doing so is a lot like learning how to swim. You don’t want to be like a friend of mine who was knee deep in water as his boat was rapidly sinking. There we were, out in the middle of Lake Michigan, as he shouted, “I don’t know how to swim!” He quickly learned that the best time to take swimming lessons is not when the boat is already sinking!
So it is in your life of faith. You need to be ready ahead of time for any spiritual “sink or swim” experiences that arise. Don’t wait for a crisis to draw near to God, spend time now building a strong relationship with Him. You’ll be able to make it through every trial when your trust is in Him.
Here are some thoughts to consider as you build your life of faith:
Faith believes what it can’t see. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Most people only believe what they can see. But just as an athlete endures the rigors of training by picturing himself winning, you need to picture yourself prospering at the end of your trial. Through faith in God and His promises, you can begin to see the victory He has planned for you.
Faith believes what it doesn’t understand. Consider Abraham. Hebrews 11:8 tells us that out of obedience to God, Abraham left his country without even knowing where he was going. His own reasoning certainly must have been cautioning him to think of his family and the security he was leaving behind. Yet, he obeyed God and eventually received the promise. Then there was Noah. God told him a flood was going to destroy the earth, but he had never seen anything more than a mist. Nevertheless, Noah went against his own understanding and built the boat that saved himself and his family.
How about you? Will you have faith in God and do things His way, or will you do what you think is best? Isaiah 55:9 says God’s ways are higher than yours. You aren’t going to understand everything God says – it’s beyond human comprehension. Make the decision to believe Him, whether it seems to make sense or not. If you start trusting God for small things now, you will experience His faithfulness and be ready for bigger challenges as they arise.
Faith puts God first. In Genesis 4:3-4, you can read how Cain brought the Lord an offering from the fruit of the ground while Abel brought some of the firstlings of his flock. The Bible says God respected Abel and his offering, but not Cain’s. You see, Abel gave God some of the first that he had, but Cain simply gave God an offering.
God wants to be first in your life – not just in your giving but in every area. Put Him first through faith, and watch what happens!
Faith persists when it doesn’t “feel like it.” We live in a feeling-oriented society where the majority of people are ruled by their emotions. Just think about what might have happened if Moses had relied on his feelings. Hebrews 11:27 (NIV) says, “By faith he [Moses] left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw Him who is invisible.” He didn’t allow himself to be ruled by fear. While there were many things Moses could have done, he made a decision to keep his eyes on God and, as a result, he delivered God’s people.
It has been rightly said that if you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.
It may be that you are facing a big obstacle or many small ones. It could be that your finances are out of control. Maybe someone has mistreated you, or perhaps you are experiencing marriage or family problems. You may have received a bad report from the doctor. Whatever it is that you are going through, recognize that you are connected with the God who is bigger than all of your problems combined.
Whether you are facing your darkest hour or going through a “small” trial, don’t give up. By faith, start seeing the victory God has in store for you. Believe what He says and keep Him first in your life. He will walk with you all the way to victory!
Never give up!
(All scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise stated.)
Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15).