Don’t Give Up

A few days before JD and I met under our chuppah and exchanged “forever” vows, while driving to be with my mother in the ICU, we prayed together and thanked God for trusting us enough to allow us to go through what we had gone through that week.  We know that we win greater spiritual authority and greater testing through the trials that we face.  However, I find myself looking back on that Chrystal with a little longing.  She was stronger than I feel now.

It is ironic to some degree that my Achilles’ Heel often is a good report. It was easier in some ways to cling to God when we were praying for Mother’s life; now that the prognoses are increasingly good, my soul requires a little more stirring to stay positive.  This is so often true of our spiritual walks in general–we turn to God in the time of trouble and then complain when we win some battles.

I feel like I have a little better understanding these days of the children of Israel in the wilderness.  It has been so easy to judge them over the years, thinking, “How could someone who saw the miracles in Egypt and walked through the Red Sea on dry ground doubt that God would provide for them?”  However, in the fatigue of a Sunday night while missing the simple pleasure of picking up the phone and talking to Mother the way we used to talk, it becomes a little clearer. I forget how the Father spared her life, how He kept my EMT certified uncle from giving her an aspirin on the way to the hospital (which would have made her bleed out and die), how He kept her from harm when said uncle fell carrying her into the Emergency Room, how He did not make her undergo surgery, how He’s given back her cognizance and ability to communicate, how He restored her bodily systems to where eating and voiding are as they should be, and so many more things.  Instead, I look at me…  Ah–there’s the real trouble.  I look at me.

The reality is, I do not have the grace in myself to be grateful.  I do not have the strength required to be strong.  I’m no pillar of faith in my own right.  I have no great gift of insight into the Spirit that is worthy of setting on a pedestal.  All I have is God, and fortunately, that is more than enough.  He is the one whose mercies are new every morning.  He is the one who daily bears our burdens.  He is the one who stays closer than a brother–who said that He would not forget us, and though father and mother abandoned us, He would not leave us.  This is the faithfulness of my Jesus.  He is the one who gives me the grace to say, “Not my will, but Yours.”  After all, He was the one who prayed that first, and His suffering was so much greater than ours ever will be.

My heart is alive to a song by Misty Edwards tonight.  She simply sings, “Don’t give up.  Don’t give in.  If you don’t quit, you win.”  This is what the apostle Paul was speaking of when he said, (in Ephesians 6), “having done all to stand, stand. . . ”  We are seated in the heavenly places with Christ, and He is the one with all authority to judge–indeed, He won this authority by the depth of what He suffered.  He does not lie like a man.  He does not break promises.  He does not forget what He said.  And our part in doing the will of God is simply to believe in the one He sent.  “I believe, oh God.  Help my unbelief…”

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9 Responses to Don’t Give Up

  1. Nina Peery says:

    Oh…Chrystal. God has given you wisdom WAY beyond your years. I am decades older than you, and am just now coming to the same realization. I too am drawn back to that glorious week of events where God answered (in miraculous ways at times) my heartfelt prayers. I found myself standing in awe of HIS divine intervention, with praise and worship ready in my heart and on my lips. We had loaded the last of the photobooth and other stuff in Cindy’s truck because the van had experienced a flat on the way to the church early that morning. Mike and the guys were at the van waiting for AAA to come change the tire. It ended up being a “donut” so they had to drive the few miles down Lakeland to Walmart to get it fixed. Mike had called asking where we were (the tire was changed and they were waiting for us at Logan’s) with what sounded to me like an “edge” in his voice. I began to complain in my spirit and under my breath. Then my sister revealed these circumstances to me: Mike and the guys arrived at Walmart at 6:57 p.m. Guess what time the tire center closed that night. 7:00 p.m. The Holy Spirit immediately whispered a check in my spirit to help me know HE has not left the scene. HE was still working. HE will always be in control of the events in my life! I felt like Job. I immediately began to cry and tell the Lord how sorry I was. I find in my own life it is much easier to live on the mountain spiritually when my circumstances are in the valley. In other words, when the circumstances of my life are completely out of my control, it seems easier for me to rely on HIM and see HIS hand in them. When the circumstances of my life are favorable and I feel I have some control, one little incident can send me on a complaining bing! I am so grateful my Father is willing to put up with me, and HE has placed people in my life who will put up with me.

  2. Sara says:

    Thanks for communicating what is in my heart that I could not put into words. I went to see Jordan last night and I came home feeling so weak. I don’t know what I am doing anymore. Don’t know how or what to pray anymore and so I just cry and pray in the Holy Spirit. I don’t even have the strength to declare anymore. All I know is that He is God and there is no other. I keep waiting for my second wind and I all I can pray is Lord, please strengthen my faith! I want to believe! I want to trust! I don’t want to quit! When will what I saw in the Spirit manifest in the natural? What I see in the natural is so disturbing and tries to convey to me that I am in denial. Please help me Lord to press on.

  3. Chrystal says:

    Clinging to this promise today:

    He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (Rom. 4:19-22)

    Abraham didn’t just believe passively–he grew stronger in his faith by glorifying God. I have watched both of you magnify the Lord through trying times; both of you are such an inspiration to me, and I’m doing my best to follow in your footsteps. May He continue to strengthen your inner man!

  4. Sei guten Mutes says:

    That’ so good, Chrystal. True belief, like true love, isn’t passive but active.
    Rom. 4:19-22 links very well to Math. 6:9-13

    It is so important that we give God the glory, because otherwise we might lapse into moments of self-glorification. The ability to be fully convinced that God is able to do what he has promised is His gracious gift to us – so all the glory ought to go to Him.

    We know that God can’t lie, so let’s always trust Him as Our closest Friend.

    Sara, you are not in denial! Your prayer, Lord, please strengthen my faith! I want to believe! I want to trust! I don’t want to quit, is a good one.

    I always recommend Psalm 100:4 when the times get tough. Any verses you can find in a concordance involving thanking and praising God will help you in your prayer-life!

    Isaiah 11
    1And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
    2And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
    3And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
    4But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
    The risen LORD Jesus Christ is the the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear (reverence) of the LORD.

    Sara, as you praise God, in the name of Jesus for blessing you with increased understanding, God will bless you and you’ll be able to appreciate your tough times with more clarity!

    Josef Sefton

  5. Sei ermutigt says:

    What a friend we have in Jesus!
    Thank you Chrystal for writing so thoughtfully and researched about God!
    The best way to protect ourselves from temptation is to continuously submit our will to God’s will. As this is a life long challenge we must be diligent in our Bible studies, fervent in prayer and eager to put God’s teachings into practise in our daily life!
    Josef Sefton

  6. Reine Gnade says:

    Well done Chrystal and thank, you precious friend, for committing yourself to do God’s work loyally,
    There are so many reasons why I love Jesus. Jesus created me so that I had the opportunity to experience His gift of life and planted within my inner being a hunger and thirst to find Him and acknowledge Him as the greatest person who has ever worn human flesh.

    May we praise God always for He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
    I love Jesus for revealing to me God’s nature..God is truly love.

    Let’s all praise Jesus for His incredible bravery, courage and loyalty and perfect obedience and the selfless love that He displayed whilst on earth.
    What a glorious saviour and High Priest we have!

    My testimony is that anyone who sincerely follows Jesus will be truly blessed!

    Truly in the risen LORD Jesus we all have the opportunity to find God’s treasured teacher and Our most loyal friend. What a glorious friend we have in Jesus!

    Josef Sefton

  7. Sefton says:

    Let’s show, in words and deeds, our gratitude to Jesus!

    Treasured readers you are beautiful and very precious in God’s sight. May God, the God of the holy Bible, the only true God, bless you always; so that your earnest desire is to thank and bless Him daily as the true God of heaven and earth.

    Treasured readers invest as much time as you can sensibly spare; so that you can have, God’s word, an open Holy Bible before your eyes.

    May you grow, bloom and shine, body, soul and spirit in 2011 to the glory of God Triune.

    What a wonderful faithful and loving Saviour, Lord, High Priest and righteous Judge Jesus is!

    Holy Lord Jesus, what an absolutely phenomenal person you are, always have been and always will be!

    Thank You for blessing us, pure God of heaven and earth, so that we can continue to pour out our gratitude daily to you.

    Thank You heavenly Father for blessing Chrystal and all her sincere readers who are studying and praying diligently to honour your perfectly pure name.

    Josef Sefton

  8. Josef Sefton says:

    God is good and his commandments are good!
    Faith not only requires our participation,but provides us a foundation upon which we can stand and be established in in love for God and good words and deeds toward our fellow man.
    To believe.means to trust in,have faith in,be fully convinced of, and rely on. The more we believe the more we become firm, stable, established, and firmly persuaded.

    Friends, set your hearts to be established in the Creator and you will enhance your prospects of being established. The key to being established in truth is becoming grounded in His Word, for faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).
    Friends, Let us build our lives on Jesus, the Word (John 1:14). And, as we believe in God and his words and demonstrate them, we will be established. May God continue to bless your sincere efforts.

  9. Josef Sefton says:

    Friends, no matter where you’ve been or whatever you’ve done, thus far in your life, God’s pure, loving voice is calling you, for He longs for an intimate relationship with you, Friends, God is a diligent God who longs to be able to graciously and gently reveal His teachings to you.

    Friends, can I encourage you to look expectantly and eagerly to Almighty God, for He alone can rescue you from being enslaved to self-will.

    Friends, no matter how stubborn you’ve been and how much foolish resistance you’ve put up so far, Almighty God still offers you the wonderful exciting opportunity to turn from your self-sufficient ways and bow down before Him- as a student before His teacher.

    Praise be unto holy God whose heart longs for us drink from His water of life, His living, life-transforming Word! Friends, may compassionate, pure-hearted God continue to bless your efforts to thank, praise and worship Him!

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