The Hope We Need When We Feel Like Giving Up

psalm 40-2

I hear my son singing his favorite song after I put him to bed for naptime.

Singing himself to sleep…isn’t that the sweetest?

But he’s not singing “Jesus Loves Me” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

He’s not even singing “The Ladybug Picnic” (our personal favorite) or “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”

No, at the top of his lungs, he is crooning out:

“Bob, the Quitter.  Can He pix it?  Bob, the Quitter.  Yes, he pix it!” (he’s still working on the ‘f’ sound for ‘fix.)

This is not how the song goes.

This summer, my daughters have been making up parodies of the theme songs to preschool TV shows. They’ve tackled all the big ones: Elmo, Little Einsteins, Blue’s Clues, Wonder Pets.

And now this: Bob, the Builder.

Unfortunately, my son has adopted their parody of good old construction site Bob and instead of singing “Bob, the Builder….” he now sings “Bob, the Quitter” every single time.

My daughters are now under strict orders not to sing any of their parodies within his hearing in case they ruin yet another song for him.

And, whenever my son breaks into this now-ruined tune, I try to sing it the right way, emphasizing “Builder” with great force so he’ll hear me and make the correction.

So far, this has failed.  Bob the Quitter it remains.

My boy has dug in his heels on this one, which of course makes this parody even funnier.

He refuses to quit singing a song about a “quitter” who apparently can indeed fix things despite his propensity for giving up!

It boggles the mind.

Still, while I admire my son’s tenacity and willingness to hang on tight, I’m sure at some point he’ll correct his little ditty and sing with just as much heart: “Bob, the Builder, Can he fix it?  Bob the Builder, yes he can!”

And I’ll rejoice because, not only will the lyrics finally be correct, he’ll get the whole point of the song in the first place:

Don’t quit.  Don’t give up.

Don’t get bogged down by the problem; keep your eyes fixed on the goal and the finish and the completed work.

After all, that’s what we all need at times, the reminder to just keep going.

When we’re broken and overwhelmed, weary and ready to give up, maybe we can’t tackle everything before us.

But this next thing, this next calling, this next task, that we can do with God’s help.

One more step. One more day.

One more prayer even when you haven’t seen results.

One more act of obedience to God even if it feels overlooked or unappreciated.

One more choice to be faithful despite the unfaithfulness of others or to act with integrity even when others fail.

God knows what it is we truly need in the moments when we want to quit, what we need to hang on one tiny step at a time.

When Paul was imprisoned in Jerusalem and the forces against him seemed overwhelming, look what God did for him:

The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome” (Acts 23:11 ESV). 

“Take courage.”

That’s what the Lord told Paul.

Why?  Because it wasn’t over yet.  There was more to come.  Paul didn’t need to worry because God promised there was more to this story.

God didn’t tell Paul everything, but he did show the next step was Rome.

And, this is what I pray when I feel like throwing up my hands to concede defeat,

“God, help me remember there is more to this story. Give me courage.  Help me hold on until you finish this work.”

Even more than that, I remember the Psalmist who said:

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord (Psalm 40:1-3).

I ask God for the “new song” only He can give.

Then I set my heart on that future, for the day when the pit will be behind me and I’ll be standing on the steadiness of a rock.  My feet won’t be shaky.  The ground beneath me will be strong.

And I’ll sing a “new song…of praise to our God.”

For all of us who feel like laying down and giving up, may we ask God today for a new vision, a new song, and the hope we need to just keep going each new day.


If you want to get there, first you have to be here

galatians 6

My five-year-old has taken to the piano like a hummingbird to nectar.

She watched her older sisters play for years and could not wait for her turn to tackle those first assignments in the beginner piano book.

Of course, it starts out so easy. Follow the pictures, plunk down the right finger and ‘presto’—a song! It might only be ten notes long, but it’s still a song and she aced it with no effort at all.

Then the lesson grew a little harder. She needed to read actual notes and sometimes those notes went in unexpected directions.

You mean not all songs use just four keys?

After one mistake, she collapsed into deep sobbing. I finally calmed her down enough to understand what she was saying. “I (sob) can’t (sob) do (sob) it (big, big, big sobbing).”

I’m her teacher and her mom, though, and I know better.

I know that one wrong note the first time you play the song does not mean you can’t do it.

I tried to tell her, “When you play the piano, sometimes you hit some wrong notes. You don’t play every song perfectly the first time you play it. You have to make mistakes and fail sometimes, but you just don’t give up. You practice and practice and work hard and then you get it right.”

After that award-winning Mom-advice, she looked right at me and whined, “I don’t want to play the piano then.”

She was ready to give up, ready to pack it all in and call this whole experiment in piano playing a complete failure at the grand old age of five years old because it took a little effort and because failure was part of the learning experience.

Have you felt like giving up recently?

Have you made a few mistakes and decided maybe God should pick someone else for this job?

I’ve been there so many times before.

I’ve looked around at where I’m at and how hard it is, and I’ve thought, “I’ve gone far enough.  I’ve exerted enough effort.  It’s just too costly and time-consuming and emotionally draining and I think I need to stop.  Take a vacation.  Escape.  Quit and do something easier.  Settle for something less.  I just can’t do this anymore, God.  I’m not seeing any results, blessing or reward, so this just doesn’t seem worth it.”

Sometimes it’s just fine with me to stay on the beginner lessons and never move on to mastery.

Because this is just too hard.

But, God’s our Teacher and our Father and He knows better.

He knows that sometimes we grow tired and weary and that in those moments, it’s difficult to remember the vision He gave us or the call He placed on our hearts.

He knows sometimes we want to pack it in and curl up in His lap for a rest.

He knows that sometimes the only way we learn is to make a mistake or two, to try again, to practice and practice and inch our way forward….but that what we really want is instant victory.

If that’s you today and you feel like giving up and giving in, look ahead.

I tell my daughter not to give up because one day she wants to play this song and that song and she wants to play harder music and beautiful pieces.

And if you want to get there, first you need to be here.  

Here might be hard.
Here might be costly.
Here might be lonely.
Here might be exhausting.
Here might seem unimportant or it might seem to be taking forever and can’t we move on to something new now because frankly I’m tired of waiting and I’d rather just skip to the end?!

When all you can see is the difficulty of the moment, it’s hard to keep going.

Remember the goal.

Then take the next step.

You can’t conquer everything in a day.  It wont always be easy. You’ll falter.  You’ll have to persevere.  But that next step…the one right there infront of you….that’s all you need to do today.

So, take heart.

Do not give up.

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7, NIV).

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, NIV).

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.