How often do you feel like giving up? I think that for many of us, the answer to that question is often. And also depends. There are certain things that we should give up- such as- bad habits, addictions, time-consuming hobbies that we love but that take us away from our families. My doctor is convinced that I should give up carbs, but I… I’m not quite so sure.
But how often are you tempted to give up on the things that really matter? Family relationships or close friends that may mean a lot to us, but take a toll on us emotionally. Working at a job that pays the bills but also comes with a lot of stress. Mental or physical health commitments that are hard to follow through on. Financial budget limitations that keep us out of debt but takes much self-discipline. I think most of us have been tempted to give up in these areas. Each of these commitments represent something that is really important, but comes with a high price tag. We have to seriously and regularly evaluate each one of these areas. Sometimes we need to give them up, but probably more often, we need to keep going and push through the pain. There is one area that stands alone above all else, where we must not give into the temptation to give up and give in: our faith in the LORD Jesus Christ. But it isn’t always easy.
Life is full of what could be considered challenges, but let’s call them what they really are- earth shaking crises that threaten the very foundation of our existence. Death of loved ones. Divorce. Untreatable, debilitating illnesses. Mental health breakdowns. Drug addictions. Bankruptcy and financial collapse. Being a victim or perpetrator of violent crimes that will forever scar those we love. We could probably include church hurt on this list as well because the pain is so personal. As pastor, I regularly counsel people through these crippling situations. And have even walked through some of them myself. Life is hard. It really is.
The problem is that we suffer through these trials and so often buckle under the weight of them. We get angry with God, lose faith, and walk away from our Christian community. In doing so, we lose sight of the very purpose we exist, and we drift into despair and indifference. Much of this is invisible to the people around us. We just sort of quietly let go or deconstruct that which we once held so dear. This is a very common occurrence in today’s culture, and rather than get angry at people who do this, let’s take a compassionate, encouraging, Bible-centered approach.
This is precisely what Luke does for us in Acts chapter 14. Here, Paul and Barnabas face off against unspeakable evil and brutality. Their response to this adversity gives us a roadmap on how we too can have resilient faith in the face of our trials.
I invite you to join with us this weekend as we study this amazing story of resilient faith together. Our socially distanced service is Saturday afternoon at 3:30, and our Sunday morning service is at 10:15, where you can join us online if you can’t make it in person. We also have excellent Sunday School classes at 9 for all ages.
Have a great weekend and I look forward to pursuing Christ, Community, and the Great Commission Together with you soon!
-Pastor Nathan Rice