I Want to Quit
by Sharon Betters
Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him,
for God is our refuge.
The Hebrew Christians were scared and weary. They had started their walk with Jesus, filled with hope and a passion for reflecting His compassion to one another. Their faith compelled them to offer practical help to one another. They visited those imprisoned for their faith and shared their goods and money with those impacted by the loss of their jobs and families. Persecution was getting closer and people were dying because of their trust in Jesus. Some of their most trusted friends had left their little church so the base for offering help and hope grew smaller and weaker. They were tired and frightened.
Can you relate? Has God placed a broken friend in your life whose needs overwhelm you? Is your teenager getting on your last nerve? What about that prodigal child? Are his or her life choices so foreign to you that interacting with them doesn’t feel right? Are you frightened because you don’t know how to help? Are you weary because your help doesn’t seem to change anything – you can’t fix your broken friend, your child rejects your love and your co-worker continues to struggle with depression?
What does this Scripture say to you? Encouragement is not an option, something we do when we feel good or will receive high praise and attention because we’re so thoughtful. Encouragement is a command for every child of God. That is good news when we feel inadequate, because God equips us for what He calls us to do. Remember, you are not the fixer. You are called to interact with people in a way that helps turn their hearts toward Jesus. God is the fixer. See yourself as partnering with Him in His plans for the one you are burdened to encourage. Read Today’s Treasure verse again, with that inadequacy in mind. God always equips us for our calling, and one way we experience His equipping is when we recognize that we are helpless without Him. He is our refuge. Trust in Him.
“Women who know Christ and the power of His resurrection realize that God does not leave us helpless in the face of difficulty. He miraculously transforms our meager offerings and uses even the simplest acts to bring about dramatic change.” (Treasures of Encouragement)
Don’t quit, friend! How will you practically encourage your friend to “love and good deeds” today? Is it time to call in reinforcements, i.e. other friends? Does she need you to help clean her house or organize a closet? Those things may seem mundane and not spiritual at all, but your friend’s mind is so cluttered and chaotic, helping her organize her home a little at a time might be a way for her to feel more in control of the rest of her life. Trust that He has already equipped you for this task.
Father, we want to run away when the pain brings such devastation, when our child rejects You and our love, when a friend is drowning in depression. But You call us to run toward the pain. We trust that You will direct our steps as we bring these enormous needs to You. Be specific, Lord. Show us how to help turn hearts toward Your dear Son, Jesus.
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to the Hope in Uncertain Days audio resource with Caitlin Jane so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:
A young woman, beginning to see her career as a recording artist start to take off, hears the diagnosis no young person ever expects: “You have an inoperable brain tumor.” Listen as Caitlin describes her battle to find a cure and then just when life seemed to be turning around, the news that shook her world once more. Caitlin Jane’s story is a light in the darkness for all who face uncertain days, but especially young women and young men as they struggle with the challenges of walking by faith when life is turned upside down. Caitlin’s response to life a life-threatening medical diagnosis, disappointments, even to standing against the tide of cultural pressures is a remarkable and a unique journey that will encourage other young people that they have choices in the way they respond not only to typical teenage pressures, but life crises and a culture that challenges their core values. Caitlin’s story will “raise the bar” for young women who are struggling – in that they will realize they, too, can walk by faith when life seems to be a mess.