- The divine call to excellence (01/24/16)
- Seeing God in the midst of tragedy (01/10/16)
- Three ways to embrace the new year (12/27/15)
- God's gift of acceptance (12/13/15)
- Demonstrate love during Advent (11/29/15)
- Finding value, not vexation, in our toils (11/15/15)
- A simpler approach perhaps might be more innovative (10/18/15)
Seek God and give up giving up
For Lent this year, I'm giving up giving up.
I have recently gotten to know a young woman, a junior in college, who has spent the past year investing her time in a group of six high school sophomore girls. Once a week, starting at 5:30 a.m., she starts to pick up a few of the girls to meet the others at 6 for breakfast and to study the Bible, talk about God's grace and what is happening in their lives. Most, if not all, of these girls come from single-mother homes. One girl's father is not on the scene, and when he was, he brought abuse with him.
For these girls a message of "God is a father who loves you" is as foreign to them as Chinese is to a child who grew up in the cornfields of Iowa. Yet every week before the sun has the strength to peek over the horizon the headlights of this college student's car pierce the darkness.
Most of us give up too easily. Somewhere along the line we are realize what our lives are now and what we want them to be (how we know they should be) and we make changes only to find ourselves a day, a week, a few months down the road exactly where we began. The challenge was more than we expected. It just wasn't the right time. The bed was too soft. We give up too easily.
This prayer is found the book of Colossians: "We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father." (Colossians 1:11-12a)
The ability to endure is not a physical issue alone but a spiritual one. Endurance, patience and joy are the overflow of being filled with God's power.
God has not called men and women to idolize themselves by becoming good little soldiers who buck up under adversity. He loves us and gave deeply for us so that we might be filled with his power.
Give up giving up. Give up serving self. Give up your fading strength for lasting power, endurance, patience and joy. Seek God first; perhaps those 6 a.m. appointments won't seem so early.
Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at www.robhurtgen.wordpress.com.