Updated: Sep 17, 2020
“I don’t think I can do this anymore.”
I’ve heard this many times before.
I’ve felt this many times before.
The frustration, the despair, that huge sigh. It’s that helpless moment when you feel as though you’ve reached the end of your rope and can’t find the strength to go on. It may be because you don't know how how, or it could be that you simply don't wan't to.
We face this struggle sometimes when we are trying hard to “do all the right things” and it just doesn’t seem to turn out; we didn’t expect it to be this hard, or we aren’t happy with how it’s unfolding.
It was the time walking through our African village to practice a new language, and it totally, completely bombed.
It was the moments in hospital with our daughter when yet another thing went ‘wrong’.
It’s at the end of a long run when I’m tired and I really want to quit.
So, what has been the “it” for you these days?
We’ve been thrown into home-learning with our kids and managing our homes with the challenges of social distancing. Some of us are feeling too isolated, longing to connect with people face-to-face, trying to sort through all the changes to the world around us.
We may be struggling with a chronic illness, or a with a family member who is sick. We could be facing frustration with sin issues in our life that just don’t disappear.
We feel discouraged. We feel weak.
A Lesson From A King
King Asa was the King of Judah, three generations after Solomon. He was a good king who “did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord his God” (2 Chr 15:2); tearing down idols, encouraging the people to worship Yahweh and to obey His commands.
As the land experienced a time of peace, King Asa gave glory to God, reminding the people it was their obedience to Him that allowed them this time of rest. It was a time of reviving true worship and true teaching among the people.
You would think this was enough. He had been diligent and obedient to lead the people back to the Lord. The time of peace was interrupted by Ethiopian invaders, and God dispatches a prophet to both warn and encourage the king to remain true to Yahweh, so that he would continue to experience God’s blessing. Hear a snippet of the prophet’s words:
“But as for you, be strong; don’t be discouraged for your work has a reward” (2Chr 15:7, HCSB)
Even though King Asa had seemed to have done so many things “right”, God wasn’t asking him to stop or to give up. There were more idols to take down, a community to gather in worship and a covenant to renew. In order to do that, he had to first be strong and fight discouragement.
As you notice your own feelings, of just wanting to give up, here are 3 things to remember:
1. Your Strength Comes From God
Now, this may sound like a “pull up your bootstraps” message, but it’s not.
Scripture reminds us that we have no strength other than what we are given in Christ, for in our weakness, he is strong (2 Cor 12:9-10).
“God is our refuge and our strength” (Psalm 46:1)
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower” (Psalm 18:10)
“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually” (1Chr 16:11)
We are weak and helpless people, who rely totally on the grace of God. Our strength comes from Him alone, not from ourselves. We continue to pursue Him, through reading His Word, and resting in His wondrous Gospel that has rescued us from a place of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of light.
It’s okay to feel weak and lost. I think it helps us remember how much we need to depend on Him. As the days and months go by, we rely more and more on ourselves and our own abilities; we soon find ourselves at the end of our rope, we finally come to the humble realization that sometimes, life feels more than we can handle.
But it’s never too much for Him to handle.
2. Your Confidence Comes From God
My dictionary app tells me that the definition for discouragement is, “having lost confidence or enthusiasm.”
When life seems to buckle beneath our feet, we become discouraged. It’s like walking across an old bridge and a rotted wood plank splits beneath your foot…you lose confidence that this bridge is actually going to hold you.
That’s a scary place to be.
But God doesn’t send us to cross the bridge alone. He’s got us tethered to himself as we make the crossing. Our feet may falter, our confidence will get shaken, but we’re not going anywhere, He has us.
We must remember the Gospel, that God created this world to be good and special, a place where He dwelt. The fall into sin polarized his creation from Himself. Yet He had designed a way for us to unite with Him once again through the life, death and resurrection of Christ, and He has promised us a glorious return, a kingdom that will never end.
This is our confidence.
We were once far off from Him and we have been rescued.
This is why we can go in the strength we have, to run the race God has set before us. We rest in what He has already accomplished for us, and will continue to accomplish through us, as we set our eyes on and abide in Him.
The Gospel gives us back our confidence.
3. Your Reward Comes From God
“They had sought Him with all their heart, and He was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side” (2Chr 15:15).
The people humbled themselves, turned from their sin, and experienced the blessing of God.
What a model for us today. That we would humble ourselves in the very bottom of our deepest valleys, the depths of our strongest emotions. To seek him with all our hearts and know that we will find Him.
The psalmist tells of the journey in this way,
“For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.” (Psalm 66:10-12)
Isn't it wonderful to know that there is a place of abundance waiting for us!
There are new mercies for us each day as the sun rises, a new day, a new opportunity to experience more of His grace - in our parenting, our work and in our suffering.
As we recognize our weaknesses, our frustrations and our proneness to giving up, may our lives be surrendered to Him, seeking Him, and holding onto Him for this promise, that there is a place of abundance waiting for us.
Which areas of your life right now do you feel like you want to give up?
How can the Gospel change your perspective?