“But as for you, be strong; don’t give up, for your work has a reward.” (II Chronicles 15:7, CSB)
As I sat in church recently, I glanced down and saw the person beside me had placed his cell phone on the seat between us. In big bold letters, the screen read, “Don’t Give Up.” Knowing a little about this man’s long battle with cancer and the many challenges he had faced, I understood this bold reminder on his phone.
Sometimes we do feel like just giving up. Our battle may not be the “Big C” like the man beside me that day, but we all face struggles in life. The weight of those struggles can lead to feelings of despair and in our weariness thoughts of just giving up. Before we do, it might be good to pause and examine why we feel this way. Is it burnout? Are poor health habits dragging us down? Are we overwhelmed by fear and worry? Is this a spiritual attack?
How do we face difficult situations with faith and hope?
First and foremost, choose to trust God. Even if the situation feels hopeless—and the enemy will try to convince you it is—remember God has promised to never leave us or forsake us. (Read Deuteronomy 31:6-8.) He has never broken a promise. If He says it, He will do it. Whatever comes our way, we do not need to face it alone. He is with us.
Look fear in the face. When we walk through dark times, it is so easy to allow fear to consume us. Things always seem worse in the dark, but I am reminded of the words of Psalm 23:4 (NKJV). “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” The dark shadows in the valley may cause our hearts to pound with fear, but God’s rod and staff are there to offer protection and comfort. Jesus assures us, “I am the light” (John 8:12), and His light will shine into the dark valleys we face. (Also read II Timothy 1:7.)
Don’t isolate yourself. When life hurts, it’s so tempting to pull away and hide our struggles from others. That only intensifies our feelings of despair and defeat. Some may even stop attending church services, but this is when we need the Word and each other the most. As part of the body of Christ, we share each other’s load. “If one member suffers, all suffer together” (I Corinthians 12:26, ESV).
Stay in the Word. Romans 15:4 (ESV) tells us, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Look at the key words: instruction, endurance, encouragement, and hope. God’s Word will strengthen us. When filled with worry and despair, search out scriptures that will encourage us, build faith, and inspire hope. And then hang on—patiently wait.
Look forward, not back. Luke 9:62 tells us that anyone who looks back after putting his hand on the plow is not fit for the kingdom of God. Instead of looking back at the things behind us, remember the words of Paul in Philippians 3:14 (NKJV): “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” The prize is before us, not behind us. Press on.
In my Bible, Psalm 27 is titled, “A Psalm of Fearless Trust in God.” That’s exactly what we need when Satan bombards us with thoughts of discouragement, defeat, and giving up. When he whispers, “Just give up; it’s hopeless,” don’t believe him. Be persistent. Press toward the goal. Grab onto hope. Trust God and don’t give up!
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13, NKJV)
Lord, You are the source of my strength and my light when I walk through the dark valleys. Help me to fearlessly trust you regardless of what comes my way. I will come through this and I will see the goodness of the Lord in my life because You love me and give me strength for each day.
(Suggestion: Meditate upon Psalm 27 whenever you feel discouraged and want to give up.)