Most people are aware of Sir Winston Churchill’s famous three-word speech to a graduation class…invited to the podium, the great old man solemnly looked over the student body. A long speech, full of wisdom and challenge was expected but instead Churchill simply said, ‘Never give up.’ And then repeated the phrase with emphasis as only he could do, in his unique attention-grabbing tone.
And what profound wisdom and challenge there is in those three words!
How often do we give up, especially just short of victory!
Even in simple things, such as the other day when we were looking for a particular destination. After some minutes driving down a dusty country road we were convinced that we were on the wrong road and turned back. After wasting precious time trying other roads, we had to return to the original one –the right one – and …guess what!…the place we were looking for proved to be just round the next corner from where we had turned!
Again…how many times do we miss out in life because we give up all too soon?
How often do we miss a great opportunity to achieve, to do something new, to strike a bargain, to exercise our talents and giftedness, to help someone in need, to honour our faith, to accomplish a desire or goal, to fulfil a promise, to further our destiny, to…whatever. Probably more than we care to admit.
In Luke 11:9-10, Jesus spoke strongly about not giving up: ‘Ask and you’ll get; Seek and you’ll find; Knock and the door will open.’ Most folk understand that the verb tense he used indicates to go on asking, seeking and knocking. Someone, years ago, blocked a lot of people from fulfilling this direction and achieving in life through wrongly teaching that one should only ask God once for something and that was enough. Sounds spiritual – after all, God isn’t deaf. But we ‘re human and we need to persevere and go on asking, seeking and knocking to see our prayers answered otherwise we can easily give up and miss out. Does a child only ask once for something, especially coming up to a birthday or Christmas? Not likely! Even the most patient child subtly drops reminders.
I, along with millions of others across the world, believe in the reality of a caring God with whom we can have a living relationship.He’s fantastic! He has revealed himself as a father – the heavenly Father! He has an incredible father-heart. He just loves us to climb up on his knee (as it were) in our prayer time and knock on the door of his heart and ask away. In his wisdom he may not always grant every request but in time we learn to ask according to his will (This comes about through meditating on his Word – the Bible, and though talking with him – prayer). But he is a generous Father and he loves to favour and bless us. After all, we’re his kids, spiritually born into his family though Christ. So…persevere! God’s timing is always perfect!
Then there’s the life example of Jesus, God’s Son to consider. Despite all the hindrances thrown at him by Satan, jealous religious leaders, misunderstanding listeners and doubtful disciples, he persevered in fulfilling his destiny. He overcame every obstacle to become our Saviour.
Once again, this Easter, Christians will be remembering his sacrifice on Calvary. It was an awful, horrific and torturous thing he went through on our behalf. Memories of Mel Gibson’s The Passion come flooding back. Anyone else would have given up but not Jesus. He suffered – terribly, but he kept on the road to Calvary (Actually, the road to Calvary is more important than any ‘road to Christmas’)!
We live in a very uncertain world…and there’s talk about things getting blacker. But security, peace and a purpose in life can be found in Jesus Christ! The real message of Easter is not bunnies and eggs, but that God so loved the world that he gave his Son, Jesus, to be its Saviour and everyone who accepts him can have eternal life, sins forgiven and peace and the favour of God.
And that spells good news indeed!
Easter is also about not giving up. God didn’t (and doesn’t) give up on us. We should not give up on others, nor should we give up on life!
So …what about that project you started? Don’t give up! Or that dream to find the right life partner?
Don’t give up. Or searching for and applying for that new job? That new car or house?
Never give up!