July 14, 2019
What to do when you feel like giving up
I had a good friend who felt like a miserable failure. He called me and his distressing words alarmed me. I dropped everything and went to see him. He cried for three hours while I tried desperately to console him.
He was a creative person but everything he tried to do ended in failure. He was broke. He believed he had no one to whom he could turn. Nobody cared, he said. He was ready to cash in his chips. He saw no way out of the mess he was in. I could tell he was serious about giving up.
While we were talking, I prayed earnestly, pleading with God to help me help my friend. I remembered another night when I talked a distraught man into giving me the gun in his hand. He too was ready to give up. The Lord helped me to talk him out of taking his own life. A few other men helped him get back on his feet. Somehow, some way, he found enough hope to get back in the race. In my mind, I kept asking the Lord to do it again, help me persuade my friend not to give up.
When I left my friend after three intense hours of talking and praying, I had hope that he would turn to the Lord and let the Lord rescue him. I could not save him. Only the good Lord could do that and he does it only for those who trust him. I implored my friend to trust God and ask God to restore his soul and give him hope for the future. God can do that. I have seen him do it. He has done it for me. But it does not happen until we surrender everything to him and admit we cannot make it without his help.
A few weeks later, my friend gave up. He took his own life. It broke my heart. I struggled with guilt for a long time, thinking I had failed him, wishing I had done more to help him see a way out of the mess he had made. I could have done more. I know that. But, in the end, the decision was his and his alone. I miss him. I hope I will see him again. I know God loved him but I am not sure he believed that God loved him. Hope is difficult to grasp unless we are convinced that God loves us.
I share these thoughts today for one reason. I hope someone who is wallowing in the pit of failure and on the verge of giving up will read this and decide to ask the Lord for the help he is ready to give. Failure and disappointment come to us all. But help is available! God will help us if we turn to him in faith. Christian friends will help us. If we but ask in faith, believing, God will give us the grace to believe in him, to believe in ourselves, and to believe in the future.
Faith is a choice. Suicide is a choice. Life is about choices. We can choose to give up or we can choose to persevere. We can choose to moan and groan or we can choose to get up, lick our wounds and keep going! We can complain about our misfortunes or we can praise God for even the smallest of blessings.
Faith can lead us to find help in the Bible. I do that. I find passages that speak to my situation and I believe the God who created the heavens and the earth is speaking those words to me, to me, and he wants me to believe that he is speaking to me because he loves me. How do I know he loves me? Because he sent his Son to die on the cross for my sins, even mine.
Here is a passage that has blessed me a hundred times. It is in Isaiah chapter 41: “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I read that and add my name so it says, “So do not fear Walter, for I am with you!” And I cry out, “Thank you Lord for loving me, for being with me, for helping me, for giving me strength to crawl out the mess I have made and hold your hand as I recover!” I hear him saying, “I am with you Walter! Come on! Get up! Don’t quit! Keep going! You can make it – with my help!” And I cry, “Yes, Lord, Yes!”
Believe God loves you! He wants the best for you! So do not give up! There is a hand, a mighty hand, reaching down to help you – and it is the hand of your heavenly Father, the God who made you. So take his hand and keep going despite the pain and misery of failure. One day, by the grace of God, you may be able to affirm with wise Saint Paul, “I know, I know from my own experience, that in all things God works for good with those who love him!” + + +