Don’t ever give up! In thinking of these words, the picture I have seen over the years sometimes pops into mind. It’s the inspirational poster with a crane trying to eat a frog & all you can see of the frog hanging from the crane’s mouth is the feet & legs. While being swallowed, one foot is grabbing the throat of the crane hanging on for life with the caption; Don’t Ever Give Up! Sometimes life comes at us hard & fast; we can find ourselves facing uncertainty, discouragement, or fear of what tomorrow brings. When this happens, it’s easy to think about just giving up & throwing in the towel. Maybe it’s our vision & dreams we cannot see coming to pass, maybe it’s the discouragement of an event in our lives that seemingly takes away what we believed to be God’s promise to us & there is a lack of peace. What I have heard as I have stood thinking about this is “Don’t ever give up!”
The other day I had a different memory regarding this relating to my profession in training others as well as my own training as a police officer. In our academy, we would train various scenarios for possible situations we may face & one thing I remember the instructors pressing into us is “we do not train any scenario where the officer dies”. In my study in both physiology & human psychology I understood their words more in depth because when we are facing a difficult circumstance; be it a decision, walking by faith or something life & death; we don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training. We always return to what’s most comfortable & natural for us. Practically speaking, if I condition myself to lose, I will give up more quickly when things get hard. Resistance brings strength not only in our muscles, but also in our resolve to keep walking with God. This applies to every area of lives, not just physical protection in situations, but in our daily decisions in trusting God in the storms of life. Jesus said, my peace I give you, but not as the world gives; the misunderstanding about peace is, it’s the absence of conflict & this is untrue. If peace was only obtained, through the absence of conflict, then Jesus himself would have never walked in Peace; His life was filled with conflict.
Peace (Shalom) is defined as completeness, wholeness, health, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. This word is still used in different cultures today as a greeting or a farewell upon leaving a conversation or home. Shalom: peace in trusting the God who created the world still cares about what happens in it & to it, peace in knowing He has greater plans for our lives, than we could ever imagine or come up with ourselves. Shalom is available no matter what may be going on. If you have a broken relationship & you find it hard to bless them; SHALOM, if you have been hurt & you just can’t forgive; SHALOM, if you wonder where the next meal will come & how the bills will be paid; SHALOM; God speaks peace into our hearts. The problems don’t always disappear, but when we accept His peace, they certainly take a different perspective in our lives.
Are we living in harmony with God in our everyday lives or do you (like I have seen in myself) find yourself restless or unsettled because you can’t see past the end of your nose, not to mention what is coming tomorrow? Jesus say’s in Matthew 6:34 “don’t worry about tomorrow; for today has enough problems of its own”. Today is enough for all of us to walk in. Yet, I often struggle with what is to come. Jesus knowing the nature of man speaks to us in advance saying “the kingdom of God is more than food, drink or clothes just trust in your father because He knows you have need of these things as well”. Matthew 6:25
We have seen major things taking place in our world these past few years (sickness, economy problems, job loss, bankruptcies etc.) yet as believers & followers of a God who cares, we do not live under this world’s economy though we operate daily within it. God’s economy is different as is seen when Jesus declares “the meek will inherit the earth, the weak will be strong, those who show mercy will find mercy shown towards them & when you give your life away, you will then be able to find it.” These are not just words, but teachings from the heart of Christ on how I am to live each day. Trusting that though the day brings hard times, & sometimes I don’t feel I even know where to start; I have a father who knows, cares, understands, guides, & gives hope when it seems there is none to be found. This is my God, & his word today is My peace, I give you!