It’s a fact of life. Sometimes we get so discouraged we want to give up—it maybe a special project or even a school assignment. It gets too hard—you become disillusioned and hope disappears.
You may feel life is a hard slog without any good breaks. Ask any sleep-deprived mother with a small baby. Days and nights are long without much rest. And if you feel exhausted, it’s difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel.
And what’s worse, others around you don’t understand what you’re going through. I think just now of physical pain—chronic pain that doesn’t go away despite medication. It sucks life out of every conversation, every birthday, family dinner or a favourite hobby.
Maybe depression is your reality—and no matter how often you pray or read the Bible, the darkness will not lift. Life becomes a daily grind when the smallest task becomes a huge obstacle. I’m sure many good people struggle with the hours of depression.
Or maybe you’re just trying to do the right thing in a situation that’s all wrong, and your efforts seem a complete waste of time. You don’t want to give up because you believe you’re in the right—but for how long?
If this is you—or when it becomes you—I hope you know that you live in a broken world. God created Adam and Eve in beautiful perfection where there was no sin or pain. But they chose to ignore God, and that relationship was ruined. We live in a broken world as a result.
Don’t Suffer in Silence
There are questions about good and evil, about suffering and children. These were fundamental questions about God:
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- Is this my fault?
- Is God punishing us for something?
- Is God really good?
- Or is God even really real?
These are real questions posed by many people—perhaps even by you. There’s nothing wrong with asking honest questions. It’s interesting that living in a fallen world, doing the right thing can be especially hard. Whether that thing is integrity or repentance or faithfulness or peacemaking or contentment or endurance, or any of the other combinations God requires of us along the way—it’s often just hard.
The difficulty of doing what’s right is never an excuse, but the challenge is real. Like telling the truth in every situation. Not to compromise our beliefs in face of being ridiculed—or to cave in to pressure just because everyone else says it’s OK. Of course you must also remember that you’re not the only one. There are other good people who want to do and say the right thing, and they could help.
So you don’t have to be alone. Don’t struggle or suffer in silence, a self-isolating decision that’s just as harmful as it is common. You will be surprised at how quickly good friends will come alongside if you ask for help. That’s why attending church is such a positive and helpful experience. In an atmosphere of love, acceptance and respect, you’ll probably find a friend who understands what you’re currently going through.
God Has a Purpose for Your Life
Because you can change. Even if your circumstances can’t change much, you can change and grow and mature. Often we make new discoveries during the hard times, and it’s wonderful to know God is kind and forgives our sin and wrongdoing. Changing you in some way, whether through change or a more subtle kind of growth, is certainly part of God’s plan. Either way, God has a purpose and plan for your life. That’s why it’s important you don’t give up.
I don’t know what God is doing in your life, but I know he’s always intentional, and his intentionality is fuelled by love. Joseph, in the Old Testament, knew that—even when his brothers left him to die and fade out of their lives. But God planned for him to be Egypt’s Prime Minister. In a classic meeting with his brothers, Joseph, in a position of power, said to them: “I have no right to change what God has decided. You tried to harm me but God made it turn out for the best so that he could save all these people” (Genesis 50:19-20 – CEV).
One of God’s intentions—in every trial—is that we learn something (usually many things). So I have no doubt that you’re learning a lot, even though you might feel like you’re not learning a thing. Even if you’re unlearning some things, that’s a start. God’s ways are more powerful than our ways.
The best way to learn and grow and persevere, though, is not by isolating yourself, but by asking for help. Because help is always available. God doesn’t relate to you in a silo—with you at the bottom, he at the top and everyone else in their own privatised silos, sealed off from each other. God relates to us in a family, where he’s the all-wise Father and we’re brothers and sisters helping each other all along the way.
Jesus Brings Hope to Our Lives
So if you’re feeling like giving up, I hope that you’ll ask for help. Darkness never ultimately wins. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead for you—and he offers hope even in the darkest time.
Christ means hope—to the person out of work, to the struggling single mother. Even if you’re just slogging your way through the disappointments of life, if you have Jesus, you have hope. And he is not a false hope, a childish fairy tale that we wish will have a happy ending. When Christ rose from the dead, that ended the argument. Our hope in him is solid and it is real.
Dr Tony Evans, in his book Totally Saved says:
We have lasting hope through the salvation we have in Christ…Hope means that even when it looks like it’s all over, it’s not all over yet. That’s why the Bible says we can rejoice even in our tribulations. God is working in our hard times to produce proven character and hope in us.
Make Psalm 33:22 your prayer today:
May your unfailing love rest upon us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.” (NIV)