Did you ever say in utter exasperation, “I give up?”  Sometimes, we get so tired, or so sad, or so discouraged, that we simply want to throw in the towel.  There are many disappointments in life, and it is easy to lose sight of what truly matters.  I have been there, too.  Nevertheless, I am here today to tell you that there is joy around the bend.  God wants you to trust Him, to keep keeping on, and to emerge victorious.  Admitting defeat is not the easy way out.  Quitting is not the wise choice.  Giving up is not the answer.  Jesus is the answer.

Many times in my life, I have heard someone say that they just wanted to give up.  I recall stories of people, who could not handle their load of college classes, their work hours were too long, or they could not stand the physical problems they were currently facing.  One person I encountered had a physical problem that forced them to take an early retirement.  I heard them say that they just wanted to stay at home and do absolutely nothing, if they could not go about their normal, daily life.  Think of all of the blessings we would miss if we just hid inside our houses and stopped living life.  We would not see the sunrise or sunset, except through the glass pane of our window, we would not see our children graduate or our grandchildren take their first steps, and we wouldn’t see a friend or even a stranger in need on a routine trip to the grocery store.  God wants us to enjoy life, no matter what trials may come our way.  He wants us to cherish every moment we have, enjoying the things we are able to do, as opposed to focusing on the things we cannot do.

Other times, our burdens are heavy not because of the things we can or cannot do, but the things that we must do.  At times, our to-do list is overwhelming and we are stretched too thin.  I am reminded of a dear friend who was going through a difficult time in which she was taking care of her mother who was ill and caring for her husband who had multiple health concerns.  On top of all of that, she was trying to keep up with her responsibilities at work where she consistently was given new tasks to complete, resulting in extra unpaid work hours.  When I spoke to her, she sounded as if she was hanging by that last thread of hope.  She was done.  She was done trying to balance work, family, friends, and all of the layers of responsibility each one contained.  When we talked, I encouraged her and reminded her that Jesus would walk beside her, holding her hand, and even holding her up when she felt she would fall.  Amid our conversations, she once said to me that she felt as if the tables had been turned.

You see, this particular friend and I have had several heart-to-heart talks.  She was there the night my Mom went to be with the Lord.  She held my hand, she hugged me, and she cried with me.  Just this past year, we talked about that night.  It was something we had to do to rid our friendship of the seemingly “elephant in the room.”  We could not pretend we did not think of it daily, no more than my Dad and I could hide our feelings in the days, weeks, and months that since that tragic night.  The topic had to be addressed so we could stop dwelling on the past and enjoy the future.  She listened and she offered advice when I was hurting.  By talking to my Dad and a few others, I became determined to enjoy living life once again.  I stood firm, my faith unwavering, even in the midst of my sadness and despair.  And through these conversations, I noticed that the pain lessened.  Notice I did not say the pain went away, but it did not hurt quite as much because I was no longer compressing and stowing away my emotions.  Instead, I was being open and honest.  Through my honesty, I found that I was able to get past the fact that life had changed, and move forward to the hope-filled future that God has planned for my life.  I still think of my Mom every day, but I strive to think of the happy memories, not the horrific night that changed everything.  Since then, I have gradually arrived at the place where I have found joy in the journey.

During the time that my friend was hurting, I reminded her of our conversations.  She said she realized that I was giving her similar advice, as she had given me.  Of course, It is always easier to give advice when you are on the outside looking in, as opposed to being the one buried inside the trial itself.  Still, we both knew that we did not have to bear our burdens alone.  Even in these difficult times, we had the assurance that God was and continues to be our Refuge.  If we felt as if we would slip and fall, there was a solid ground on which to stand.  Psalm 40:2 (NIV) says, “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”  The scripture does not say that God removed all of the mud, but it says that God provided a “firm place to stand.”  When you pray, your burdens may not instantly disappear, but God will give you the strength you need, the peace you desire, and the joy you long for to bring you from the rain and into the sunshine again.  Even in the storm, there is a rainbow of hope to be found.

If you feel like giving up, don’t give in.  Keep pressing on, doing what you can realistically do with God’s help.  Ephesians 6:13 (ESV) says, “Having done all, to stand firm.”  God does not ask us to do more than we are capable of doing, but He simply wants us to do as much as we can.  Then, after we have done everything we can possibly do, we should just stand.  If you feel that you are hanging by a thread, with absolutely no hope in sight, look to the One who is the Giver of hope.  Your life has not ended.  The Bible says to “Stand firm, and you will win life” (Luke 21:19 NIV).  Think about the gift that the Lord is giving you.  He is giving you life.  It is no secret.  The way to obtain a life worth living is to firmly stand in God’s presence, seeking His perfect will for your life.  When trials come, give your burdens to Jesus and stand strong.  Jesus does not want you to throw in the towel.  If you feel like giving up, remember Jesus will lift you out of that pit of despair, set you on a firm foundation, and allow you to enjoy living your life.  Never give up.  Give your life to Jesus.  He will do more than you ever dreamed!

In Christ’s Love,