I have asked my good friend Rev. Walter Albritton to allow us to use one of his weekly columns this month. Walter, a pastor at St. James United Methodist Church, where Sara and I are members, is a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and a tremendous preacher of the Gospel. This “preacher” has a definite gift of being able to communicate a message to folks. A big problem in today’s world relates to “giving up” when things don’t go as expected. Walter’s message set out below speaks to this problem.
What To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up
Life is hard. There are times when evil wins. We do the right thing but wrong prevails. Those who lie and cheat have the upper hand. We see a tiny light in the tunnel of our darkness but it turns out to be a train that runs over us. In such times we are tempted to throw up our hands and quit. Why keep trying to do the right thing if we lose? Doubt takes over and we wonder if the way of love really is the winning way. When our faith is tested by the difficulties of life, it helps to remember that God was not surprised. Nothing surprises God. He knows what is coming. Reading the Bible reinforces this truth. God uses the Bible to strengthen my faith.
One way he does that is by inspiring me when I read about people like the prophet Daniel. Reading the story of Daniel reminds me that God will help me if I turn to him. I don’t understand everything I read in the Book of Daniel but I still find great lessons in this small book. Take, for example, that story about the king’s dream. The king’s demand of Daniel and the wise men was impossible. He ordered them to tell him what he had dreamed and what his dream meant. The wise men gave up. It was impossible to know what the king had dreamed.
Daniel, however, turned to the Lord in prayer. He did not turn to his own cleverness; he turned to God. God answered Daniel’s prayer so Daniel could tell the king both his dream and its meaning. The challenge for us is to believe that God will help us like he helped Daniel. When there seems to be no human solution, we can by faith turn to God. The world says, “Give up.” Faith says, “Turn to God.” Daniel believed what Jesus would teach us years later – “Nothing is impossible with God!” We can learn to ask God, and trust God, even when our situation seems hopeless. No matter what the problem, God is able to help us.
Our friends in Zambia, Alfred and Muumbe Kalembo, had a problem. Their neighbors begged them to teach their small children to read and write. The only space available was a small room that served as Alfred’s study. “If God wants us to have a school, he is able to make it happen,” the Kalembos said. So they decided to turn the little room into a school, naming the school the “God Is Able School for Children.” Soon Alfred’s study became a classroom where Muumbe would teach ten children. Realizing they could enroll a hundred more children if they had the facilities, Alfred and Muumbe believed what Daniel believed – God is able! Today they are operating three schools and building a fourth!
My friend John has been successful in business more than once. In fact, three times he lost everything and had to start over from scratch. But he refused to give up. While he lost everything financially, he did not lose his faith. He continued to believe that God was able to help him succeed – and he has! A sign in a churchyard expresses what John believes: “When you have nothing but God, you have everything you need.” Many people have everything but God and they are miserable. What they fail to see is that what they cannot see is what really matters. Things have no eternal value. The Bible teaches us that what is visible has no lasting meaning; only the invisible lasts forever!
A man in Alabama became so successful that he was considered the state’s most generous philanthropist. He had homes in several states. He had his own private jet. Then his world collapsed. He was fired as CEO of the very company he had built. His success was achieved, his accusers say, through fraud and deception. His “kingdom” of wealth and extravagance crumbled, like a sand castle.
Daniel was not impressed with earthly kingdoms. They have no future. God, however, according to Daniel, is building a kingdom “that shall never be destroyed.” We may lose “the greatest job in the world.” We may lose our dream home. Our worldly treasures may vanish into thin air. But what we have invested in the Kingdom of God we cannot lose. What we have given away, in the service of Jesus, will be ours forever.
When the world’s kingdoms are tottering and falling all around us, we can rejoice that we belong to an eternal Kingdom, the Kingdom that will remain when everything else has been destroyed. Think about Daniel. We do not know if he wore expensive clothes, if he lived in a fine home or if he drove an expensive camel. We do not know if he was a member of a Country Club or if he was privileged to dine in “The Club” of his city. What we do know about Daniel is that he believed God was able to meet his needs and that God’s kingdom could never be destroyed. Should it not be our fervent prayer that we may live with such faith in these days? God is able! To believe that, and to live by it, could be the key to great living until our journey ends.
I join with Walter in his prayer, which reminds us that God is good and that God is able to meet all of our needs. God can also provide for us the means by which to solve any problem on issues that confront us. When we allow God to truly be in control in our lives we will never give up. Instead, we will, with God’s help, deal with any situation, and go forward in our lives. I appreciate Walter giving us this timely message.
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