I Won’t Give Up!

5 Mins read

At the 1993 ESPY Awards, college basketball legend, Jim Valvano addressed the crowd. News had broken that Valvano had terminal cancer, and doctors had told him that there was no hope. He was going to die.

Suddenly, this larger-than-life personality who had made an indelible mark on the college as a player, coach, and analyst appeared in front of millions around the world on live TV to say his final goodbyes.

However, Valvano’s speech was not one filled with self-pity. Instead, Valvano, who was a devout Catholic, provided hope to the masses. He acknowledged that his life on earth was nearing its end, but he encouraged the crowd with the now-famous words, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

55 days after his famous ESPY Awards speech, Valvano lost his bout with cancer. But did he really lose? No, he didn’t. Valvano experienced the reward that God has promised to His people.

While Jim Valvano is credited with the “Don’t Give Up” speech, the concept of perseverance is a Scriptural one.

What are you facing today? Perhaps it’s failing health like Jim Valvano. Maybe you’re dealing with personal financial crisis. Do you feel like your marriage is barely holding on? Whatever your source of adversity is, don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

Refocus Yourself
1 Chronicles 16:11-13 (NIV)
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgement pronounced, you his servants, the descendants of Israel, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.

When sailors face a storm on the sea, one of the first things they do is point their vessel into the waves. Doesn’t that seem counterintuitive?

When we face the storms of life, we would much rather turn around and try to run the other way. Unfortunately, in the same way that a boat cannot outrun a storm, we cannot outrun adversity. The one consistent thing about trouble is that it comes into everyone’s life at some point.

Why do sailors sail into the storm? Because when the storm hits, sailors know what direction it’s coming from. By sailing into the storm, they are able to at least know what direction they’re going.

As Christians, Christ is our “true north.” When we turn our focus to Him in the face of adversity, we can maintain our direction. Your problems don’t have to derail you. Fix your eyes on Christ and move towards Him, even if it means that you have to sail into the storm.

You’re Right Where You’re Supposed to Be
Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

When we face difficult times, we often wonder if we did something wrong that resulted in our problems. While sin can certainly cause problems, not every case of adversity is some sort of divine punishment.

In John 9, Jesus and the disciples come upon a man who had been born blind. The disciples immediately started asking if that man or his parents had sinned. They assumed that his blindness at birth was God’s way of punishing someone.

Christ corrected them quickly. No one had sinned. That man was born blind specifically for that moment. Christ healed him, giving him sight for the first time. His blindness happened simply so the power of God could be manifested in his life.

If you are facing difficulties because of your own sinful actions, repent. Ask for forgiveness and accept God’s grace. However, you’re very likely facing adversity through no fault of your own.

Take heart that you’re right where you’re supposed to be. God has you in the position you’re in not as punishment, but so that you can experience His power in a brand-new way.

There Is a Reward
Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV)
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

One of the other questions we often ask when dealing with hardships involves whether or not it’s really worth it. After all, wouldn’t life be easier if we just gave up?

For example, if you are dealing with troubles in your marriage, the easy thing to do is to give up, file the papers, and move on. Fighting for your marriage is hard, but it’s also worth it.

If you are a parent, maybe your biggest source of adversity involves a rebellious child who simply isn’t living according to God’s Word, even though you raised them according to Scripture.

The easiest thing you can do is to give up and just assume that they will “figure it out” one day. Engaging in spiritual warfare is hard, but isn’t your child’s soul worth it? Of course, it is!

The author of Hebrews declares that there is a reward for those who persevere. The only way that we can do that is to hold on to our confidence. Our confidence is in the promises of God.

He said He would never leave us. He said that He was for us. He declares multiple times in His Word that He loves us and that we are His children. That is something to be confident about!

When you refuse to give up your confidence, you can handle any issues that come your way. You can persevere. Scripture declares that there is a reward for those who don’t give up.

When dealing with things that seem like they’re too hard for you, they probably are. Don’t lose heart. They aren’t too big for God. Not only is He going to handle the things that are over your head, but He is also going to reward you for persevering through the hardships.

The Blessing in the Battle
Genesis 32:26 (NIV)
Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

Jacob’s story is found in the Book of Genesis, and to say that he was a flawed individual would be an understatement. Born a twin, Jacob was constantly in conflict with his twin brother, Esau. To make matters more tense within the family, their father favored Esau while their mother preferred Jacob.

Eventually things got so bad in their family that Jacob and their mother created a scheme to cheat Esau out of his inheritance. It worked, but it resulted in Jacob becoming a runaway. Esau was a much tougher, stronger individual, and Jacob was scared for his life. He ran away, and in exchange for the inheritance, he lost everything he had ever known.

Even though Jacob was an incredibly flawed man, God never gave up on him. One night, God appeared to Jacob, and what ensued was anything but what you would expect.

The two engaged in a wrestling match that went on for an entire night. Jacob thought he was fighting another man, but over the course of the battle, he found out he was battling against God incarnate.

As the sun began to come up, God told Jacob to let him go, but Jacob refused. “I won’t let you go unless you bless me.” Jacob wanted God to fix the mess that he had made of his own life, and God did it.

God did something to Jacob’s hip that resulted in it dislocating, and Jacob spent the rest of his life with a limp. However, the limp was a constant reminder of the blessing that he received.

The things you’re going through may leave you with a scar or two, but those scars are reminders of the blessing that God has promised you. Don’t give up, the blessing is coming.

A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to persevere. Give me the endurance that I need to get through what it is that I’m facing. In Christ’s name, Amen.

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