Does anyone feel like that today about anything?
I don’t at the moment, but I’ve experienced many ups and downs lately and I get that sinking feeling in my heart that tells me to just give up. What do we typically give up on? Marriages, relationships, feeling better, our dreams . . . God . . . things that are pretty important to us. It’s usually caused by a let down, disappointment, hurt, or a series of such nasty events that leave us exasperated, bitter, and we cry or yell: “That’s it. I give up!”
What have you given up on?
There are times when I want to abandon my dreams. They seem too big, too complicated, and so far away. The real and constant struggles that I face every day scream at me to just give up. To be honest, I give up sometimes. It usually lasts a few hours or maybe a few days if I really let it all get to me. But I remember that no one is going to fight for my dreams harder than me. If I give up, then what? All of my hard work means nothing? I don’t think so. I cannot let that happen. So I fight another day.
While watching a very fascinating documentary about the men who were successful, even during the Great Depression, I received unexpected encouragement. One of the comments repeated by historians and other successful people in business was that those who did not give up, in the midst of tragedy or hardship or betrayal or failure, were the most successful. I was greatly comforted by hearing those words. Giving up is easy, and I’ve learned that by having that attitude, I don’t move forward. By pushing through the hard stuff, I always survived and felt relieved that I didn’t give up. I’ve also gone through much more difficult battles and won, so why in the world should I let myself become so discouraged now?
How often do we give up on God because of a disappointment? That He didn’t work things out the way we believed that they should . . . or that we grew weary of His silence?
I think that we do it a lot. We are quick to blame Him for the failures of others, and even when things go wrong because of our own mistakes. I’ve been reading about prayer and asking God for certain things. It’s not God’s intention for us to walk around feeling bitter and giving up. Sometimes He is telling us to move on because He’s got something better, and often times it’s that He needs us to let go. We grip our situations so tightly, that we limit His power in our lives. Whether you believe in God or not, at some point, we all must admit that none of us are in control over the many things going on in our worlds.
Jesus tells us twice to not give up. We actually honor God by being persistent in our requests, unless he’s already said no. In Luke 11:5-8 “And He said to them, ‘Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him; and he will answer form within and say, “Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you.”? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.'”
Later He says in Luke 18:1-5 “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: ‘There was a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city, and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary. And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.'”
We are easily annoyed by repeated requests, just like the neighbor and the judge. Yet, if someone persists enough, we sometimes cater to the request so we’re not bothered anymore. However, God is not like us! He loves us and doesn’t get annoyed with our requests. Jesus tells us so when he says, in Luke 11:9-13, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
The parable may sound a little ridiculous . . . or it may feel like that we ask God for things and he sends the scorpion or the stone. Just because we ask for something and we don’t receive it, it doesn’t mean that God is ignoring us. He may often agree with your request and want to grant it, but He knows that something else will bless us more. We give gifts out of love, and it feels good when we see the other person’s reaction. We get that feeling from God, and He experiences the same. Here’s an example: I often prayed for a spouse, or to at least date the right guy who could become my spouse. God said yes to my request, but no about the guy . . . until He brought my husband along. Then God said yes, and yes. For those of you who know my husband, you know what an incredible blessing he is!
So, don’t give up! Let go of your control, your ideas, your plans. Trust that God knows what He’s doing, and if we don’t give up, we’ll eventually see what He had in mind for us. If we give up, we may never know! I don’t ever want to be in that situation. If I give up on my dreams because everything is so difficult right now, I will miss out on all of the amazing things God could do through my dream. I don’t want to miss out on a single good gift that God could give me! If you’re not sure whether God has said no, just ask Him! If we seek God and His will, we’ll find him. How will we know if we never ask?
Repetitive requests annoy us, but not God. By not giving up on our prayers, we are showing that we believe in who God is, and that He’ll do what He promises to do. We just need to have faith, continually seeking, and not giving up on whatever it is that you care about.