Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
Have you ever felt like giving up? I think many of us have—I know I have. Certain events come in life that throw us off guard and we say, Is it time to give up?
Some of the worst tragedies that happen come when people give up. We sometimes also think that all the successful people in life have been strong individuals who had their lives altogether. Not true. Let’s take a minute to talk about that. We might think of scientists, for example, like Louis Pasteur who made some amazing discoveries in the field of chemistry. He is written up in all the history books. But this incredible man suffered from a paralytic stroke at age 46 which actually made him handicapped for the rest of his life.
And what about the great musicians and poets with time to entertain people with their incredible gifts? Beethoven struggled to write his music because of his deafness. The English poet John Milton wrote some of his poetry after he became blind. So it’s amazing to see that people often discover that, despite their handicaps, great work can to be accomplished.
Living with a sense of purpose
Here’s someone else. James Watt, the Scottish inventor famous for the steam engine, was a very sick man and didn’t have much money. The thing that made all these people famous and unique was not their psychical strength, emotional stability or large amounts of money—it was a sense of purpose, and a total commitment to that purpose.
I sense in meeting some people that that purpose is missing because of the difficulties of life. They give up because it’s too hard or they don’t feel they have a purpose. I came across this poem by Helen Steiner Rice—”The End of the Road is But a Bend in the Road”—that might help:
When we feel we have nothing left to give
And we are sure that the song has ended,
When our day seems over and the shadows fall
And the darkness of night has descended,
Where can we go to find the strength
To valiantly keep on trying?
Where can we find that hand that will dry
The tears that the heart is crying?
There’s but one place to go and that is to God
And dropping all pretense and pride,
We can pour out our problems without restraint
And gain strength with Him at our side.
And together we stand at life’s crossroads…
And view what we think is the end,
But God has a much bigger vision,
And He tells us it’s only a bend…
For the road goes on and is smoother,
And the pause in the song is a rest,
And the part that’s unsung and unfinished
Is the sweetest and richest and best.
So rest and relax and grow stronger—
Let go and let God share your load.
Your work is not finished or ended;
You’ve just come to a bend in the road.
Wait a little longer for God’s timing
Some of our problems are short-term, like a bout of flu or a falling out with someone at work. Others may last much longer: a chronic illness, a disability or an addiction, the loss of someone close to us, or an ongoing battle to overcome a personal weakness such as anger or moodiness. You may have to struggle with such difficulties for weeks, months, or even years. And sometimes problems persist even when you feel you’ve already done all you could: You’ve been praying, reading and following the Bible, claiming his promises, and trying to trust God. Still you see no answer, which can be discouraging.
When you think you’ve reached the end of your rope, just hold on a little longer. Patience is often the key that opens the door to God’s blessings, and sometimes we must be content to wait for his answer. While we may expect God to put an end to our problems right now, he may know that later is a better time. God’s timing is impeccable. “He has done all things well.” (Mark 7:37) Trust Him! Faith is believing. Faith is trusting. Faith doesn’t quit. Faith refuses to call anything impossible. Faith refuses to be robbed of its joy and peace by circumstances or battles.
Are you using all your strength?
Once a little boy was trying very hard to lift a heavy piece of furniture. His father came into the room, and noting his son’s struggle, asked him, Are you using all your strength? Yes, of course I am! the boy impatiently shouted. Oh no, you’re not, the father answered. You haven’t asked me to help you!
That’s the problem with our faith and trust in God. We fail to ask for his help.
In cases like that, God may be testing you to see whether you will continue to trust and believe and thank him for all the good he sends your way, even when it seems he is not answering your prayers. The Scriptures say:
- “We walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
- “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
God loves to see his children’s faith manifested, and he promises to greatly reward those who bravely endure the trying of their faith.
If God is working in your life to bring out a special quality, the process may take some time. Lumps of coal aren’t turned to diamonds overnight; so it is with our lives.