I want to give up!

imprrh@gmail.com —  November 23, 2012

A common response nowadays is that when the going gets rough, the tough get going as far away from the rough as possible!

            I want you to consider three areas in which people give up:

            1. We give up on God. The reason we give up on God, I believe, stems from an incorrect understanding of His divine purpose for our life. Some think that God’s main objective is to make us happy. When that doesn’t happen, they think, Why bother? I mean, what good is God if He is not being good to me by allowing hard times to happen? A biblical principle that helped me deal with the age-old question of why a good God allows pain to exist is this:

            God’s main objective on this earth is not to make you happy but to save you.

            Let that truth sink in for a moment. If you believe that’s God primary purpose is for you to be happy, then when bad things happen to you, you might question God’s plan or, even worse, His existence. On the other hand, if you believe that God’s primary desire is to save you, then everything that happens, good or bad, fits into His divine purpose for your life. This creates hope instead of despair and brings meaning instead of apathy. You will always have some questions as to why things happen, but expecting trouble helps you deal with it more effectively. Every time pain shows up in your life, you are confronted with two choices: run to or away from God. Which direction are you running these days?

            2. We give up on relationships. Relationships are messy. Relationships have their great days, but they also have their rainy, depressing, run-of-the-mill days as well. We have to manage egos, deal with childlike attitudes, have difficult conversations with sensitive people—and that’s just your husband. The truth is that sometimes, you and your kin can’t!

             A long time ago I learned a short poem that goes like this:

            Living in heaven, with saints we don’t know, that would be glory.

            Living on earth, with saints we know, well, that’s another story.

            Relationships are messy. People don’t always come through or stay faithful or truthful. Life would be awesome if it weren’t for the people! But we were created for relationships. The devil is afraid of healthy relationships. Notice that in the Garden of Eden, he didn’t show up until there were two people, and he didn’t attack both, but only one of them. He knows that “a string of three strands doesn’t break very easily.” He knows that “one can win one thousand, but two will win ten thousand.” The reason the devil fights positive relationships in your life is that he understands the incredible power for good that they have. Who are you connecting with these days?

            3. We give up on our dreams. People have dreams, objectives, aspirations, and goals. God made us with a specific purpose. Our job is to discover and develop that purpose. What do you do when confronted by obstacles? How easily do you give up on your God-given dreams? Maybe you have dreamt of starting a business, going back to school, changing careers, going into full-time ministry, looking for a compatible mate, or you’ve had some other dream. At some point, you encountered resistance. As any bodybuilder can tell you, you need resistance to build muscle. You can’t build strong muscles with one-pound weights. Have you given up? I encourage you not to quit now. What dream have you given up on?

            Walt was a reporter for a newspaper in Kansas City. One day he was called into the manager’s office and was fired. The reason given for his dismissal was “lack of creativity.” Walt left to follow his dream. Even though many obstacles presented themselves, he never quit. He later became so wealthy that he purchased the newspaper company that had fired him. (Can you imagine how that encounter must have played out? Can you say, “Awkward”?) Walt Disney is a household name today. The reason? He never quit. Neither should you. Join me in repeating the words that Jesus cried out to his Father in the moment when the pain seemed almost unbearable. These words might do you good on a day like today:

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.  Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Matthew 26:39).


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