To Fail is to Give Up
I recently attended a board meeting where a dear friend was let go. I was one of two dissenting votes. I made my points and the others heard but they still voted to let him go. Now how do I respond? Was I going to quit because I did not get my way? Was I going harbor ill-will toward my fellow board members? How was I going to handle this very sad situation? It occurred to me that God has spoken to just such situations. In fact there are hundreds of verses that deal with our response to these hurtful episodes in our lives; and I have chosen just a couple to make my point.
In James Chapter 5 verse 10 and 11 we read:
My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
The prophets of old did indeed suffer. They spoke the word God gave them for Israel the Israelites did not like what they heard and many of these prophets were persecuted for doing what God told them! James puts a wonderful spin on this by telling us that these prophets were counted as blessed because of their endurance.
In Job 42:10-17, we get to see how God handles those who persevere. We hear about the “perseverance of Job”, in the midst of extreme difficulties, Job was faithful and endured and at the end of his tribulation God returned to him much:
And the LORD restored Job’s losses[a] when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the LORD had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold.
Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.
After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days.
Another of my heroes of faith William Wilberforce showed great perseverance as a parliamentarian in England. For twenty years Wilberforce brought to the floor of parliament laws to abolish the slave trade. Ridiculed, mocked and scorned he did not give up and because he persevered the slave trade was indeed abolished after twenty long years.
Now to my recent problem, I truly believe in my friend and I truly believe in the cause, helping to get jobs for ex-offenders. For me to quit is to give up on the overall program. If I proceeded stubbornly and quit because I did not get my way even though I felt justified I would miss the blessing of being one who perseveres and in this case see hundreds of ex-offenders become gainfully employed.
Winston Churchill in a speech at an American college put it best: “Never, Never, NEVER GIVE UP!”