Don’t Give Up On God

Don't Give Up on God Blog by Kyle Idleman

Don’t Give Up On God

Life gets hard. You pray, but God doesn’t seem to answer. You are disappointed, and over time, disappointment becomes disillusionment. Disillusionment turns to despair, and you feel like giving up. Honestly, you feel like giving up on God.

It happens to all of us. We have expectations; then God doesn’t meet them. Recently, I went on a ski trip with my son. The first day we sat down on a ski lift at 8:30 in the morning, and I prayed, out loud, “God, it’s a beautiful day. Thank you so much for some time I get to spend with my boy. May there be no broken bones today.” But, three hours later, my son broke his collarbone.

Maybe you’ve ended up with a broken family or a broken spirit or a broken heart. Why didn’t God stop this from happening? Why didn’t he protect? Why didn’t God provide when you needed him most?

We Are Fragile and Easily Broken

I think for most, it’s not so much a problem with God’s existence; the problem is more with God’s absence. God wasn’t there when he was needed most, so it’s hard to believe he’s there at all.

Back in the first century, the Christians in Corinth were feeling this same way. They thought putting their faith in Jesus would make life easier, but the reality was very different. They were tempted to give up on God. Paul writes to them,

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Paul says, “We are jars of clay.” Why? Because a jar made of clay is fragile. They break easily. That’s us. We are fragile, and we live in a hard world; we break easy.

When we do break, it can be easy to give up on God. People sometimes tell me, “I don’t believe in God.” I think for most, it’s not so much a problem with God’s existence; the problem is more with God’s absence. God wasn’t there when he was needed most, so it’s hard to believe he’s there at all.

Paul concedes that we are jars of clay, but then he gives the Corinthian Christians some truths to hold onto when life gets hard. He writes,

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

We Are Pressed But Not Crushed

Paul tells them, and us, “We are pressed but not crushed.” Yes, we experience pressure in this life. But pressure cannot crush us.

Back when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they were stuck. The Red Sea was in front of them and the pursuing Egyptian army behind them. They were pressed on every side. They were afraid. But God gives them a message,

“Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today.”

That’s precisely what happened. God fought for them and saved them, just in time.

If you feel pressed on every side, don’t be afraid. You will not be crushed. I’ve seen it happen so many times for so many people. Stand still. God will rescue you, just in time.

Don't Give Up on God Blog by Kyle Idleman

We Are Perplexed But Not in Despair

Uncertainty shouldn’t discourage us because God knows what we don’t. God sees what we can’t. We believe in a sovereign God, so we have faith that God is writing a story that we don’t quite understand or fully see.

Paul goes on to say, “We are perplexed, but we are not driven to despair.” When things go wrong, and we don’t have answers, we find ourselves feeling uncertain. But uncertainty shouldn’t discourage us. Why?

Uncertainty shouldn’t discourage us because God knows what we don’t. God sees what we can’t. We believe in a sovereign God, so we have faith that God is writing a story that we don’t quite understand or fully see.

When I was little, we would go to visit my grandparents in Quincy, Illinois. There wasn’t a lot to do in Quincy, but my grandma had puzzles. She kept them in Ziploc bags. I’m not sure why, but it probably had something to do with the Great Depression. That seemed to be the answer to a lot of questions I had.

During our visits, I would get bored and decide to work a puzzle. Have you ever tried to put together a puzzle without the picture on the box? After a while, I always gave up. Why? Because I needed the picture. It’s easy to quit when you don’t have the full picture.

Faith is sometimes like a puzzle when you don’t have the picture on the box. You don’t understand how all the pieces are going to come together or how it will all turn out. However, because of faith, you don’t give up.

We Are Persecuted, But Not Abandoned

Paul continues, “We are persecuted, but not abandoned.” He’s saying that opposition cannot stop us. We read in Romans 8, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

If I truly believe God is with me, I won’t be intimidated; I won’t stop, I won’t give up. But how do I know God is with me? Romans 8:32 tells us that, “Since God did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?”

Don't Give Up on God by Kyle Idleman

Meaning, if God gave Jesus for me, what wouldn’t he do for me? If God gave up what was most valuable to Him, doesn’t it make sense that he’ll do whatever else he has to do to take care of his children?

I need to stop looking at my circumstances to determine if God is with me and start looking at the cross. The cross is the final word regarding God’s love for us.

Because of the cross, we know the answer to the question Paul later asks in Romans 8, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?” No. Because of the cross, no matter what circumstances or persecution we’re facing, we can confidently say, “Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” We know we are never abandoned.

We Are Struck Down, But Not Destroyed

It’s that late-night phone call you receive or the unexpected diagnosis. In those moments, we may get knocked down, but we do not get knocked down. We get back up.

Paul assures the Corinthians, “We are struck down, but not destroyed.” This is Paul’s version of, “We get knocked down, but never knocked out.”

The phrase “struck down” has the idea of a sudden emergency or unanticipated hit. It’s that late-night phone call you receive or the unexpected diagnosis. In those moments, we may get knocked down, but we do not get knocked down. We get back up.

How are we able to do this? Because, ultimately, our hope is not in this world. Our hope is in heaven. Life in this world is so short, but Heaven will be forever. That’s why Paul writes, later in 2 Corinthians 4,

“These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing.”

Paul, who went through a lot of trials and struggles during his life, says,

“One day in heaven, I’ll look back on all of these things, and it’ll be no big deal.”

C.S. Lewis explained it by saying, “In heaven, the door we’ve been knocking on our entire lives will finally be open.” You’ve been knocking on the door and asking, “God, would you heal me?” “God, would you help her?” “God, could you just answer this one prayer?” In heaven, the door we’ve been knocking on will finally open.

Circumstances and situations will undoubtedly knock us down in this life no matter who we are. But just because we get knocked down, we are never knocked out because our hope is in God. We know pressure can’t crush us, uncertainty can’t discourage us, and the opposition can’t stop us.


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