Don’t give up!

Here in Kenya we are proud to have athlete who have won many medals. It seems so beautiful when they win.  But I believe their training especially those who run marathons their first half marathon is not easy. When they are interviewed they ever say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever put their bodies through. In fact, most often, a few weeks away from the race, sometimes it gets too hard. Some days, they’re not sure they’re capable of it, and they want to quit. We do this in life too.

Our brains are wired to giving up easily, it’s normal (but not all right). Human beings are believed to act upon the “Pleasure Principle”, the instant gratification. Our brains are wired to immediate rewards in return. We’re born to look for instant gratification because in the ancient times, getting immediate benefits was essential for survival. We are very much present-oriented, and so when we’re not getting what we want immediately, we get anxious and want to give up. Yes, so once in a while, wanting to give up is normal. But giving up is not okay. Maybe you’re disappointed or tired because you haven’t succeeded yet after lots of trials, or because things did not go as you had planned or prayed for, but don’t you give up yet because nothing worth having comes easy. Giving up makes you lose more things than you can imagine.

If something is too hard, so hurting and painful our first reaction is to quit, and we want God to be a motivational speaker so we can feel inspired, but really, God calls us to do hard things for him. He never says it’s easy, so how do we keep from quitting?

Try Prayer

Sometimes heaven seems silent– but don’t quit - try prayer ONCE MORE. I must confess everyone (including me) find it hard to even pray anymore when things are hurting and so painful. I feel like the Psalmist in Psalm 42: Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God, “Why did you let me down? Why am I walking around in tears, harassed by enemies?” They’re out for the kill, these tormentors with their obscenities, Taunting day after day, “Where is this God of yours?” (vs 9-10) Maybe you ALSO feel like God has let you down. So the enemy is using the tool of discouragement to whisper lies like, “Where is your God you said was so faithful?” Perhaps you’re allowing the devil to silence your prayers before they even form on your lips.

Beloved, I challenge you to not grow weary in well doing. I challenge you to rebuke the devil and persist in prayer. We get discouraged because we’ve taken our eyes off of God. Do as the Psalmist did in the next verse and fix your eyes on God: “Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.” (Psalm 42:11, emphasis added) Fix your eyes on your faithful, loving, mighty, covenant-keeping God!  And persist in secret, desperate prayer!! Why? Because God answers desperate prayers!

 

§  Pray Desperate Prayers -Our prayers are most desperate and most honest when we’re stuck in a tough situation. Every inch tells us to quit and to take the easier route, but prayer compels us to keep going. Prayer gives us a chance to talk to God and hear him push us onward. God honors bold prayers that honor him. If we pray for strength and guidance through tough times, we will find God waiting for us, cheering us on and welcoming us at the finish line.

 

§  God Answers Desperate Prayer -I Samuel 1:1-15 gives an account of the yearly trip Elkanah and his wife, Hannah, made to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the Lord. During this time, Hannah had been distressed that she was not able to bear a son for her husband. This passage of Scripture gives quite a descriptive account of her time in prayer concerning the barrenness of her womb. It says that Hannah wept. More than this, she wept until she was sore. She poured out her soul before the Lord. Her heart was grieving; she was bitter of soul, provoked, and of a sorrowful spirit. Now that’s a pretty good list of afflictions—sorrow, hardship, and everything else that came upon this woman. But the key to the whole situation is that she was a praying woman. In verse 20 it says that she reaped her reward. “And it came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I have asked him of the Lord.’” God doesn’t answer prayer. He answers desperate prayer!  The more self- confidence you have, the less you pray. The less self-confidence you have, the more you have to pray. What does the Scripture say? It says that God takes the lowly, the things that are not. Paul says in I Corinthians 1:28 that God takes the things that are not to bring to nothing the things that are, so that no flesh should glory in His presence. We need a bunch of “are nots” today.

 

§  God Answers Persistent Prayer- Jesus believed in persistence. He gave us only two parables about prayer, and the emphasis in both is on persistence (the friend at midnight, Luke 11, and the woman and the judge, Luke 18.) In Matthew 7:7-11 Jesus tells us to ask, to seek, and to knock. The tenses of the verbs say ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking. So we need to ask and keep on asking until we receive. 

Trust in God’s Plan

We have grand plans for our lives. We write them down and make checklists and set deadlines so we can get there, but a lot of the time, life gets in the way and knocks us off our planned course. God is OK with that because it wasn’t His plan to begin with.  Proverbs :21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. When we’re going through a difficult time, leaning on God’s plan is how we stand taller. We have to know that we’re not capable of doing some things on our own, and all things work in His timing and for His good— even if we can’t see the end result. God doesn’t promise that His plan is easy, but it’s beautiful, and that’s what we find hope in. Trust in that beautiful, chaotic plan and know that it’s meant for God to be.


You’re Not Alone

You’re not the only one struggling with faith and thinking that everyone around you has it together and you’re still such a doubter. Godly men and women have said over time that isn’t true. We all have days when life feels stronger than our faith and when we want to give up, and we forget that. There are Christian men and women who are depressed and scared and don’t want to get up in the morning, so it’s OK if you don’t feel faithful. It’s OK if you don’t feel like the perfect Christian. You’re not the only one. God loves community, and He loves that community offers us a chance to lift each other up and support each other – AND THAT IS WHY WE ALL JOIN HERE.

Stay Grounded

When things get tough, one of the hardest things to do is to find hope and strength in God’s word. It’s so tough to open your bible and your journal. We tend to skip those things because we don’t “feel” like it, and it’s a huge mistake. If you’re treading through tough waters, stay grounded in God’s word and his promises. It’s not just full of hopeful verses you can stick in my pocket or on your mirror. It’s filled with stories of his grace and his strength winning through faithless people. When we choose to study those truths, we find the nourishment, the guidance and the hope we need.

Push on

When those half marathon runners first start running, they couldn’t run 3 miles without stopping. Eventually, they make it to 10 and 11 miles, but it’s difficult to find the motivation to go another mile, and some days, I bet they want to quit. Go another mile when it hurts. That’s how you get stronger. When you climb out of the tough time, you’ll be stronger and you’ll look back on that moment and see how it shaped you. Don’t give up because the pain tells you to quit and tells you that it’s easier if you fall. God promises perseverance to those who run for him and those that don’t quit when it’s hard. James 1:2-4, 12 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast (or perseveres) under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” Romans 5:3-4 “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”

 

Be grateful for the good things while struggling.

Be grateful for the good things while struggling. Yes, you may feel like giving up. Yes, you are struggling. Yes, you are overwhelmed at the moment. I know this may seem like a strange thing to say, but remember to be grateful. Whenever you feel like giving up, stop and make a list of the things you are grateful for in your life. You have so much positivity in your life to be thankful for. When you shift your focus to becoming grateful for all things, tasks that seem overwhelming take on a new light. The way you look at the situations around you depends on the attitude with which you view them. Take on an attitude of gratitude and you will be amazed at the difference it makes. Don’t give up!

 

Comforting Quote for the week

 Everyone must choose one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”