We’ve all been there before, haven’t we? Overwhelmed by a problem or obstacle, it seemed like the best thing to do was to give up altogether. Maybe as you are reading this you are on the verge of quitting. Some are thinking of quitting school, others want to throw in the towel on their marriage, and some want to quit life altogether.
Men like Moses, Elijah, and Job all got to the point in life when they would rather die than keep on going or even regretted ever existing (Num. 11:14-15; Job 3:1-16; 1 Kgs. 19:2-4). How do we keep going when everything in our lives seems to only be getting worse?
Circumstances that Make You Want to Quit
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself” (2 Cor. 1:8).
Though the apostle Paul is regarded as a giant of the Christian faith (for good reason) there was a time in his life when he wanted to give up. We don’t often view Paul as a quitter, but something in Asia brought him to his breaking point. We do not have to be victims of our circumstances, we can conquer with God even in the worst of times (Rom. 8:37-39).
None of us will always be invincible in our faith, but that does not mean we should quit. A faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted. We find out who we truly are in the toughest times. Paul and his friends despaired life itself, that is, they felt like there was no point in going on. All hope was lost. Paul learned how to press on, and we can too.
Don’t Trust in Yourself
“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Cor. 1:9).
We should make plans and be wise. However, when we trust more in our schemes and agendas than in the sovereign hand of God, we are setting ourselves up for failure. We should trust God with all that we have (Prov. 3:5-6). Paul and his friends were put in a tough spot in order that they could learn not to rely on themselves but on God. God’s power is reason enough to trust him (Ps. 62:11). The fact that God can raise the dead is evidence that he has enough power at his disposal to aid us through marriage hurdles, financial hardship, and academic stress.
When you would rather quit because the odds seem to be stacked too high against you, a good question to ask is, are you trusting in God or yourself? We will all come up against things that are too hard for us, but God has never faced anything that was a challenge (Jer. 32:27). We were never meant to live life on our own. Cast your burdens on God who wants to lend a helping hand (1 Pet. 5:7).
Remember Past Victories
“He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again” (2 Cor. 1:10).
If we have a bad memory concerning things we have faced and overcome in the past, each new difficulty will seem impossible. Paul remembered the three-fold deliverance of God: past, present, and future. If God helped in the past and is helping in the present, we can trust him with the future. When David was preparing to fight Goliath, he remembered that God helped him defeat a lion and a bear in the past and Goliath would be no different (1 Sam. 17:37).
Always remember, all giants are the same size to God. Haven’t you had things come up before that you thought would destroy you? And you are still here. Someone has rightly said, you have survived one-hundred percent of your worst days. When quitting seems appetizing, keep in mind that God specializes in rescuing his people from the seemingly impossible. If there is anything God can do, it is rescue and deliver. Dwell on past victories and use that as fuel to keep on (Ps. 34:17).
“You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” (2 Cor. 1:11).
We should not feel too big to ask for the prayers of other Christians. The prayers of the righteous carry a lot of weight in the eyes of God (Jas. 5:16). There is nothing that can change our circumstances like prayer can. Paul wanted the prayers of the Corinthians so that he and his friends could press on. If you feel like giving up and life has you on the ropes, lean on the prayer and encouragement of other Christians. When King Hezekiah was told by God that he would die, he prayed and God extended his life fifteen additional years (2 Kgs. 20:1-6). Prayer can change the mind of God.
Every prayer will not be answered the way we like, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray anyway (see Mt. 26:39). In requesting the prayers of others for struggles we are facing we will find we are not alone in our struggles. One of the cardinal mistakes we make in hard times is assuming that we are the only person struggling and hard times are unique to us (1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Pet. 5:8-9). In our social media age where everyone portrays their life as perfect and faultless, we may have believed the lie that no one faces difficulty except us. Rely on the prayers of other Christians and trust that God hears and answers.
You may not want to quit anything today, but one day you will. Remember that Paul was in your shoes and he left us a formula for perseverance. Do not throw away your confidence. Keep your eyes on the finish line. School may be tough, your marriage may be on its last leg, or you may want to quit living the Christian life. Don’t rely on yourself, remember victories from the past, and request prayers. You can do it!