“Therefore, since through God’s mercy, we do not lose heart.” – 2 Corinthians 4:1.
Have you ever “lost heart”? If you think about it, we seem to instinctively know what it means to lose heart, because we have all at some time or other felt the sting of rejection, the blackness of failure, or the specter of hopelessness. It is part of the human condition to feel this way sometimes. Sometimes, it just does not seem that it is worth it to go on. When going on an arduous journey, it may seem that it would be easier just to give up than to plow ahead.
Recently, my son and I watched an episode of the British TV show Top Gear, in which the show hosts were trying to see whether they could drive a truck to the North Pole. Another member of the team was racing them in a dogsled. There were many obstacles along the way, and loneliness, anger, desperation and exhaustion seemed to overtake the adventurers. Several times, they remarked that they just wanted to give up. But they soldiered on, knowing that their goal was getting ever closer.
Often, as human beings, what causes us to “lose heart” is when our dreams are shattered. Personally, there have been many times in my life when I have been in danger of losing heart. One time that comes sharply into focus for me is through a career change. Many of you know that during the past year, I have dealt with a career crisis. After 20 years straight of never being without a job, I found myself in this predicament. I had no idea what to do, where to go or how to feel. My feelings of fear were heightened by the sting of rejection from people I had trusted, and by doubts about myself and my abilities.
Many mornings, I would wake up and ask myself, “What am I doing? Why doesn’t this end?” I would see the kids off to school and then retire to my computer to fill out umpteen job applications, none of which seemed to go anywhere. The money just seemed to drain from our bank accounts, leaving us with nearly nothing. It was only through the help of family, friends and fellow believers that were able to keep going financially. I can really not explain how this worked.
Eventually, I had no choice than to just give up. I knelt by my bed and cried tears of self-loathing, anger, frustration, asking God what had I ever done to deserve this? Why was this happening to me? It was during one of these “pity parties” that God reminded me of something: His promise, in Hebrews 13:5, that He would never leave nor forsake His people.
Specifically, the verse deals with our love of money. “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Humbled, on that day I handed it all over to Him. Were all my troubles gone on that day? Certainly not. But God was teaching me something.
What He was teaching me was now, I believe, that at some point, you must surrender. You have to realize that you are not in control anyway. It is necessary to give up your illusions that you control your life.