I had a rough idea of what I wanted to write about for this month’s column, and as I frequently do, I hit Google just to help me find some inspiration and to hone my thoughts into the message I wanted to pass along. I like to simply review some verses and devotionals about the topic I’d like to unpack as they simply get me focused on my topic and I can better address what I’d like to say. So this month was no different as I typed in “Verses about giving up” and hit enter. I was immediately hit with the following page titles:
When you feel like giving up…
Never Give up!
Don’t Give up!
Never Giving up…
I’m not giving up…
And my personal favorite – God is my Spinach
Hmmm. But I don’t want to write about resisting the urge to giving up, but actually, I want to talk about the final release of giving up and how it can be healthy. I want to think about the strength that it actually takes to give up, and how sometimes, it’s the only choice that you have. I know that there are countless verses and devotions about struggling, fighting, persevering, and pushing through the challenge in life and refusing to give up, but I think that it’s a rarely discussed topic to actually address the act of surrender.
Several of these pages use this verse for inspiration:
“Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
— Isaiah 40:30-31
It certainly inspires you to shrug off your woes and to continue your journey via perseverance and determination. The accompanying devotion is passionate about how you can’t give up, no matter what you’re up against, because God has your back and somehow, in some way, someday, you WILL overcome.
But what happens when you are up against something that you will NEVER overcome? There are “opponents” that for, whatever reason, you have zero hope for success. Financial calamity? A jail sentence? A disease? A legal system that is biased against you? A thief? No matter what you try, you may never “beat” some of these situations, and while you can fight and fight for justice or for the hoped outcome, there’s virtually no hope and, at some point, you have to just throw in the towel and walk away (accept) the situation for what it is.
Speaking personally, I’ve been going through this and have found it to be an excruciatingly long process. Humans are terrible at “giving up”, no matter what the situation. We work at jobs we hate. We stay in marriages that are killing us. We put ourselves into bankruptcy over our repeated attempts to “win”, be it business, or legal, or any other of a number of situations. We can just keep beating our heads against the wall, hoping for a different outcome….that never happens.
So the act of giving up is not an easy one for us, but ultimately, I think that one can apply the principles from the verse above. If you are at a position of giving up on what is certainly hopeless, we will be “weak and tired, and young men will fall from exhaustion.” However, the next part of the verse if where the growth can happen: we can maintain our faith, focus on the hope that God provides, and find renewed strength in Him for the rest of our journeys, and lives.
We are not dead when we give up, but we will simply move on to another chapter where we can then find renewed strength in Christ and, while we have experienced a great tragedy, our lives are not over.
In fact, I have found that God presents you with impossible problems sometimes, in a greater plan to get you to turn away from it, and turn to Him. And maybe that’s not “giving up” at all, but rather “giving IN” to Him.