David Wilkerson wrote a book in 1982 titled “Have You Felt Like Giving Up Lately?” I bought a copy and read it. I found it very encouraging and it helped me realize how many Christians are tempted to give up at times. I know I have.
Later, in 1985, I was ordained and appointed as a pastor at a small start-up church in East Point, Georgia. One Sunday I decided to preach a sermon based on David Wilkerson’s book. I had a hunch that there were a number of folks in my flock who probably were thinking about giving up. Knowing their situations, I probably would have been tempted myself.
My hunch was quickly confirmed. I remember that I was standing in the back of the church. I had the book in my hand and started to walk to the pulpit in the front. By the time I completed my short walk about four people reached out and wanted to borrow the book. Never had that happened before or since.
God knows we want to throw in the towel at times. I think about Job and I think about Paul. We all know that Job had a rough go of it and I’m sure he was at least greatly tempted to give up. But, he didn’t. And Paul, he had quite a testimony. Listen to his description of his Christian journey:
II Corinthians 11:23-28, Are they servants of Christ?--I speak as if insane--I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and )exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.
Paul kept the faith and finished the course (2 Timothy 4:7). Our encouragement to continue on comes from those who have persevered. But ultimately, our hope must come from the Lord Himself. He says:
Jeremiah 29:11, 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."
Hebrews 13:5, Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU."
Never give up. God has a plan and a purpose for you. Part of the plan will probably include pain, frustration, loss, and challenge. The end result will be, being conformed to the image of Christ.