Can I Give Up? (August)

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by Sarah Lee Bryant

“Charity suffereth long… Beareth all things,
believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

(I Corinthians 13)

That morning…I was feeling discouraged.

“Lord, this is so hard. It just hurts so much to extend love and kindness when it’s returned with scorn. How long must I keep trying? It would be so much easier just to let it go, to not try anymore…to say I’ve done my part.”

Have you ever experienced these feelings? The point when you felt ready to give up and recoil into the safety of your own comfort zone? When you wonder—What’s the use? Is it worth the pain? Will there ever be fruit?

In my quiet time, I flipped to Hebrews 12.

I began reading the familiar words…

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

Although I have read this passage countless times, this morning that phrase in verse three struck me afresh. “Lest ye be wearied…” What did it say I should do? I was all ears!

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Consider Christ. Two powerful, life- and attitude-changing words!

Mentally, I began to lift my eyes from my circumstances and up to the beaten Savior being led to the hill of Calvary. He was carrying a heavy cross, barely able to bear the burden. Even worse yet, He was bearing the insults, hatred, curses, and immeasurable pain from those who had rejected Him and insulted Him beyond comprehension. Jesus had met with more opposition than any other human on earth. And oh, how it must have penetrated the depths of His soul, the One Who could feel perfectly and Whose heart loved more deeply than we can imagine.

Yet those pains were light compared with the weight of sin He bore, as He suffered and died for His people. My sin! “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:21).

Oh—I inwardly groaned.

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As I considered the love He poured out to the uttermost, I saw how light my difficulty was.

How little I really had given. It wasn’t even worth calling a loss. Hebrews continued:

“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”

I have not resisted unto blood striving against my sin. As I thought about it, I saw I’d not really fought very vigilantly at all. Maybe I’d not really tried very long (although it sure felt like it). Maybe this situation wasn’t as dramatic as I had imagined it to be! Maybe the Lord was actually trying to refine and humble me through this.

Maybe He wanted me to truly reflect one tiny shimmer of Calvary love. A love that knows no end, a bottomless abyss wider than the universe. A love that Christ has been shown me undeservedly innumerable times.

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That morning, I bowed in humble realization.

He has borne my sin on Calvary: me—a wretch, while I was yet in sin, completely undeserving and totally unable to return that love. So instead of calling this situation impossible and giving up, I can see it as a small way to reflect that Calvary love.

Even when it’s hard. Even when they’re hard to love. Even when I feel they don’t deserve it. Even when it seems it’s their “turn.” I must not notice the cost, but instead keep my eyes on Jesus, and leave the results to Him.

If I’m looking for results that would make me feel like my sacrifices are repaid, I would soon feel justified giving up.

But if I look to Jesus, the One Who has loved me despite all my failures, I can never give enough.

“Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”

And so, through His Word, He has given me what I need for this day…

…to set my hands and heart to anew to His will. Yes, it’s much easier said than done—but for this day, God had given me the wisdom I need to press on. I can’t give up.

I don’t know what you are facing today. But remember that God’s Word certainly does contain the remedy for weariness. Don’t give up – consider Christ!

Sarah Lee