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Giving Up Too Soon

by Thor Ramsey

Have you ever given up before the results were in?

When I was in my twenties, I had a job with a sign company selling signs to business. These were the big lighted custom-made signs that you see outside of businesses, molded out of lexan, the same material that space helmets and bullet proof windshields are made of. These signs could survive a drive-by shooting by Martians.

Walking into businesses, asking to speak to the owner and then trying to sell him or her a sign is a tough gig. They just weren't motivated by possible alien invasions.

The day I gave my two-weeks notice to the sign company is the day they decided to tell me what a great job I was doing. The problem was — I’d already given up mentally. I was done.

When the remnant of God’s people were ready to give up, they asked the prophet Jeremiah to pray for them. They had a good request: “that the Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.” (Jeremiah 42:3)

What decision should we make? Which way should we go? What do you want us to do, God?

Specific prayer requests can be discouraging, because the more specific the prayer the more obvious it becomes whether the request was answered or not. Now, the answer to this prayer didn’t come for ten days. “At the end of ten days the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.” (42:7) Honestly, I get discouraged if the answer to prayer doesn’t come the next day, especially if it’s specific.

And the answer was very freeing. If you will remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you.” (42:10)

God’s people were in a tough place. They wanted to know what to do, what step to take next. The answer God gave: "Remain where you are and I’ll build you up. I’ll plant you and make you grow."

In other words, “Keep the course. Stay steady. Don’t get sidetracked. I’ve called you here, so focus on where you’re at, because that’s where I’ve placed you.”

It’s easy to get antsy about life, especially when it comes to spiritual progress. As Americans, we want to see results and we want to see them tomorrow. The biblical model is slow and steady as she goes. The New Testament puts it this way: Don’t grow weary in doing good. The results will come in due time.

Have you ever given up before the results were in?

I have and that’s a mistake I don’t want to make again.

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