When things go wrong, as they sometimes will.
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill.
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
For life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow.
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to the faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out-
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit.
It’s when things seem worse, that you must not quit.
When a person starts a new endeavor, a new job, new school, or a new ministry, quitting is the last thing on his mind. Most of us missionaries have experienced the joy and excitement of heading to a new country and a completely new life to share the love of Jesus with others. We have this romantic ideal that nothing will go wrong, everyone will love us, and that it will just be a grand adventure. We have big dreams of doing great things for the Lord, and in our minds, we have the program and time frame all figured out.
There is nothing wrong with dreaming big. It is quite necessary in order to achieve anything for the Lord; however, sometimes it takes longer to see the dream come true than we anticipated. Sometimes, we wonder if our new work will ever get off the ground. When it does, many people will only partially accept what we share from God’s word thinking it’s just the foreigner’s way of doing things and doesn’t apply to them. We might not have that same closeness at first with a specific church family that we experienced in the states. People might not like us. We could battle sicknesses, civil wars, and spiritual battles that we never dreamed of.
Before we got married, people told my husband and I that we should never even consider using the word “divorce” with one another. It should never cross our minds as a possibility for us. (And it never has.) I propose that we servants of a most high God do the same with the word “quit.” Discouragements will come in the work of the Lord, but quitting should NEVER be an option. I understand that God can move people. I can’t judge their decisions. I know that in our ministry, however, pushing through the darkest days with God’s help has led to the greatest blessings. Far more good than I could ever have imagined has come out of trials.
My husband recently asked one of the most successful missionaries that we know what the secret to his success was. What did he say? Organization? Some great ministry strategy? Good leadership qualities? The man simply replied, “I stayed.” Sure, the other things are important, but after 10 years in the country we serve in, we are just starting to see some of the changes we hoped for from the beginning. I have wanted to give up. I have taught the same things over and over to people I didn’t think were hearing, but it’s finally starting to happen.
If God has called you a place of service, whether at home or abroad and you are tempted to throw the “Q” word out of your mouth consider a few things:
• Jesus went all the way to the cross. If anyone had the right to quit, He did.
• Romans 8:28: God has promised that good will come out of your trial!
• God is shaping you for greater things than you can see. Joseph wasn’t ready to start off in the king’s palace. He had to be a slave and a prisoner first.
• The results are up to God. In our ministries, we judge success by the number of souls saved and people in our churches. We should rejoice in souls saved, but even when we don’t see the results we hope for, knowing we are obedient and pleasing to our Father should be enough. (Easier said than done.)
• “The darkest hour is before dawn.” Hold on friend! Don’t give up. Just when your problem seems to be more than you can bear, God is going to break through!
• “The grass is always greener…” Don’t have the attitude that you have all these problems because of where you are serving! Yes, some things ARE more difficult overseas, but not ALL things are. Dwell on the positives of your field of service or your area of ministry. Think about all the things that do go your way instead of those that don’t.
• Remember God is working on YOU. (James 1:2-4) In your trial, you will be pushed to depend on Him more than ever before. It’s a beautiful thing to see how He comes through.
There was a specific time in our ministry when my husband and I both wondered if we shouldn’t just give up on this missionary thing. In our hearts, however, we knew that God had never told us to move. We had some major doubts, but by God’s grace we kept our mouths shut. He didn’t know what I was thinking, and I didn’t know what he was thinking. I can’t imagine what would have happened if I would have gone with my emotions and begged him to quit. A few weeks later, God broke my heart all over again for the people of this country. We saw a major turn around in our ministry, and things began to look up. Can I say it has all been a “bed of roses,” since then? No. I know for a fact, though, that God knows what He is doing. Blessings have come from EVERY trial.
Some of you today have faced more than I could ever imagine. My trials are so small compared to yours. I do know that our great big God is with you though. Hang on. Don’t give up on Him. Don’t let doubt keep you from serving Him. As I said, I understand that sometimes God moves people into a new job or a different field of service, but ladies, don’t give up just because things are hard. Missionary wives lonely and away from home, at some point you may feel like turning to your husband and begging to quit. Don’t do it! Encourage him! You never know the discouragement he may be feeling at just the same moment. Just keep on “looking unto Jesus,” and He will pull you through. DON’T QUIT!!!!!!