How to Hold On When You Feel Like Giving Up
Sermon shared by Alan Perkins
Summary: How do we keep holding on when we feel like giving up? How do we find the strength to persevere, to go on?
Audience: General adults
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Ever feel like giving up? Ever feel like quitting? Ever feel like your situation is so hopeless that the only thing you can possibly do is leave? Just walk away, head out the door and never come back?
In extreme circumstances, people can feel so much emotional pain that they take their own lives. Perhaps youíve even considered that yourself. But the real reason people commit suicide isnít the pain. Itís the loss of hope. Itís the sense that thereís no escape, no way to resolve their problems. Itís the conviction that things are never going to get better. They look and look for a ray of hope and only see darkness. Thatís how Job felt.
"Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut me off! . . . . "What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me?"
"My body is clothed with worms and scabs, my skin is broken and festering. My days are swifter than a weaverís shuttle, and they come to an end without hope. Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again."
- Job 6:8-12; 7:5-7 (NIV)
Job knew what it was to feel despair; to lose hope; to look into the future and see only darkness. He felt as though even death would be preferable to what he was experiencing.
∑ What relevance does Jobís struggle have to us? Why should we care how he felt when God took away everything he cared about - his family, his wealth, his reputation, his health? Because the temptation to give up, to lose hope, to despair, is universal.
* Itís the wife who is ready to give up on her husband and her marriage; rather than stay and keep trying to make it better.
* Itís the parents who are ready to give up trying to guide their rebellious teenage son.
* Itís the grown daughter who has tried over and over again to please her parents, without success, and is about ready to completely write off the relationship.
* Itís the pregnant teenager who canít see any way out but to have an abortion.
* Itís the fed-up employee who wants to honor God with his work but is about [this] far from telling off the boss and walking out the door.
* Itís the victim of cancer whoís tired of fighting the illness and thinking of taking her own life.
The common denominator is a feeling that the situation is hopeless, that things arenít going to get better. And when that happens, the temptation is to give up. Sometimes giving up takes the dramatic form of a suicide, a divorce, a worker who takes a gun to work with deadly results. But more often it takes the form of what Thoreau called, "quiet desperation." People going through the motions of a marriage or job; people maintaining the pretense of a relationship with their children or their parents, but who have in reality given up. Detached emotionally. Stopped working; stopped fighting; stopped caring.
All of us have faced this temptation, when it seems pointless to keep trying. Some of you are probably facing it now. You may be hiding it well; so that the rest of us would never suspect the struggle thatís taking place in your heart. But thereís an area of your life where youíre considering just giving up and walking away, regardless
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