Loneliness that throbs like an aching toothache steals our sleep and shadows our days. Grief for a loved one snatched away stalks every happy gathering and quiet moment. Sickness and pain torment our bodies and threaten our lives. The loss of a job, a relationship, or a dream steals our hope.
Sometimes the desire to quit is fleeting, and we shake it off and move on. Other times it backs a 50-foot moving van up to our front door and takes up residence.
It’s OK to feel like quitting. You’re in good company if you do.
Moses did. Drafted into service to lead a recalcitrant army of wimps and whiners, he was so sick of the Israelites’ complaining that he asked God to kill him to put him out of his misery.
“Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!” (Numbers 11:13-15).
Elijah also wanted to quit. Exhausted, alone, and running from wicked Queen Jezebel, he came to a broom bush, sat down under it, and prayed that he might die.
“I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:1-4).
And then there was Job. Poor Job, just trying to live righteously and be a good father to his kids. Devastated by the loss of his fortune, his health, and every single one of his children, he cursed the day he was born and wondered why he hadn’t died in his mother’s womb.
"Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” (Job 3:11).
If you quit, you’ll also be in good company.
There was a scientist researching a cure for cancer, but he quit.
There was a diplomat developing a peace plan for the Middle East, but he quit.
There was a teacher, beating back the darkness in the public school system, but she quit.
There was a missionary sharing the gospel in the 10/40 window, but she quit.
There was a youth worker challenging teens to follow Christ, but he quit.
There was a police officer trying to uphold the law, but he quit.
There was a husband, struggling to stay committed in a difficult marriage, but he quit.
And there was a mother, caring for her young children with few resources, but she quit.
But if you don’t quit, you’ll be in better company.
Moses, in desperation, flung himself on God and said, “I can’t do this alone. You have to go with me!” God used him to save and deliver the nation of Israel (Ps 106:23).
Elijah allowed God to feed him and watch over him while he slept. He listened for God’s still, small voice in the earthquake and the flood. And he received God’s comfort and assurance that he was not alone. He climbed back down the mountain, completed the work God had for him, and retired in a blaze of glory (2 Kings 2:11).
And Job. Poor Job. He continued to trust God, love his wife, and pray for his friends. God used him to show millions of believers how to walk through trials with faith and courage. And he blessed the second half of Job’s life more than the first.
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,” Job said (Job 13:15).
So what’s the secret to continuing rather than quitting?
Two of my favorite Christians, the apostle Paul and Elisabeth Elliot, answer this question.
And before you say, “They didn’t know what I’m going through,” listen to Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:8: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.”
“But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope . . .” (9,10).
Paul reached the end of his human strength and tapped into a power source far greater than anything he could muster up—God’s. And because Paul didn’t quit, God used him to evangelize Europe and write over half of the New Testament.
And then there’s Elisabeth Elliot, whose first husband was martyred on the mission field when she was 30, leaving her with a 10-month-old daughter, and whose second husband died from cancer. Because she didn’t quit, she and her fellow missionary wives led an entire tribe to faith in Christ and mentored millions of Christian women through books, radio shows, and one-on-one discipleship.
How did she keep going when she wanted to quit? Listen to her words:
“Trust in God, obey him, and do the next thing.”
If you feel like quitting today, you’re not alone. And you’re not a failure. You’re in the perfect place for God to do something absolutely amazing. It may not happen in a day. Or in a week. Or even in a year, but it will happen.
"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'” (Mat. 25:23).
May you find your strength in God and do the next thing.
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|I love the newly-designed, glossy cover!|
I suspect there are quite a few busy women on your Christmas list. Friends, co-workers, fellow church members, and your children's teachers, coaches, and babysitters, just to name a few. If you'd like to give them a gift that will draw them closer to the Lord, encourage them to spend time in God's Word, and think biblically, Hungry for God ... Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women is the gift you're looking for.
And what about those special women in your life that may not have a relationship with the Lord? In the last devotion in the book, I share what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Giving someone you care about a copy of HFG is not just passing along spiritual encouragement, it's a gentle, winsome way to share the gospel.
Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time is available through Amazon.com,BarnesandNoble.com, and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
If you live in the Columbia, South Carolina area, I'd love to autograph and personalize copies for your special friends. Email me at LoriAHatcher@gmail.com.