How many times do we feel like quitting? How many times do we feel overwhelmed, discouraged, hopeless? How many times do we want to give up on something that matters? But, how many times have we enjoyed the blessing of something we wouldn’t have if we’d quit?
The most meaningful times in life generally follow the most difficult trials.
Our enemy will give us a million reasons to quit on whatever matters most; whether that be on a person, a dream, or a goal. But we only need one good reason to stay the course.
Not once, not twice, but three times I gave up a chance for a beautiful Minnesota summer to go to Summer Training Project (STP) in South Carolina. Each year there were numerous instances when I was unsure if going to STP was the best option for me. I would ask myself, “Why am I doing this? Wouldn’t it be much better to get a job in Minnesota? Wouldn’t I earn more money that way? Why am I asking people for money? Wouldn’t it just be easier to stay home?” Consistently I would remind myself of why I was going.
Why did I spend my summers at Summer Training Project?: To make a bunch of money? No. To get a tan and practice my surfing skills? No. To see the lives of others and my life changed as we grow to know and love Jesus more? Absolutely.
My one reason of spending my summers in South Carolina was to grow more in my relationship with Jesus and be equipped to share his love with others. That one reason was enough for me to be able to say goodbye to my family and friends, be okay with making less money than I could at home, and do something out of my comfort zone. Personally, I grew immensely in my trust and reliance on God through my summers and now I am in one of the most meaningful times of my life as I share what I learned during in South Carolina with others. To me, nothing is better than sharing the love that God has lavished on us. Knowing that spending my summers at Summer Training Project allowed me to do that more confidently makes it all worthwhile.
Jesus pressed on even though He wanted to give up.
Jesus knew that he would face suffering. He knew he would be betrayed by those closest to him. He knew he would be scourged, whipped, spit upon, crowned with thorns. He knew he would become sin, ultimately separating him from God. But that is the reason that he came (John 12:23, 27-28).
Jesus left his home in heaven to come to our broken earth. He experienced pain and rejection in order to be glorified. But this act was not selfish, it was the most self-less, loving act in history. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Not only did Jesus die for his friends, but he also died for his enemies. Jesus didn’t die for the righteous, he died for sinners. He didn’t die for the healthy, he died for the sick. He died for the very people that put him on the cross. He died for the people whose sin he took on and for which he suffered the wrath of God. He died for you and me.
For the joy set before him.
“For the joy that was set before him [Jesus] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” (Hebrews 12:2-3).
Jesus just needed one good reason to press on through the pain. His reason was the joy set before him. You are that joy! You are the very reason he came! Jesus came to live the perfect life that we could never achieve. He came to die the death that we deserve, to pay the penalty for our sins. He came to destroy the works of darkness. He came to crush Satan under his feet. Even when Jesus was facing the toughest spiritual, emotional, and physical pain possible he stayed the course for us.
He came to do all of this for you and me. He came because we could never do it by ourselves. He came because he loves us.
The joy set before us.
We run the race for the joy of knowing and loving Jesus more. We press on for the ultimate joy of eternal life in heaven. We do this not to glorify ourselves, but to glorify God. Whatever we may face in this life, we know that this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17).
When we feel like giving up, we must remember our reason for doing what we do. We remember the how our life was changed by Jesus and how he is able to change the lives of others. When we are in our deepest pit we remember that God is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). We remember that God has an ultimate plan for us that we do not yet understand. We look to Jesus’ example and see that the most meaningful times in life generally follow the most difficult trials.
When we want to quit, we must remember: It takes pain to have progress. It takes hurt to have a healing. It takes a death to have a resurrection.
Campus Outreach Minneapolis
Bethel Campus Staff