“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10……….
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5-6………….
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13………………
Some years ago, I burned out on doing dog rescue work and caring for the rescue dogs I already had. Given I ended up doing the work for about 20 years or so, with up to 19 dogs at a time, a bunch of whom in later years were special needs, I was beyond exhausted. I felt like I couldn’t make it another day. Then by God’s grace alone, I would press forward. Then, I would burn out again. Over and again, I would burn out until there came a point I stopped rebounding from the burn out. I felt burned out without any end in sight. Obviously the only way to address this was to quit, right? I had already stopped taking in new dogs, but now I needed to get rid of all if not many of the ones I had and quit, right? My circumstances, and how I felt on a day to day basis, made it such the logical thing to do was plain and clear. I needed to quit. Right? Not so!
What seems logical, what makes sense in our human hearts, and to our human minds, in our human eyes, is NOT always the will of the Lord. Sometimes the will of the Lord totally defies all logic. Sometimes His will makes absolutely no sense. Sometimes His will is indescribably hard. Sometimes His will seems and feels impossible. Sometimes His will even seems foolish. The idea of continuing to care for the dogs made absolutely no sense given how burned out I was. But when I sought the Lord, and sought the Lord I did, His answer was clear. I was to keep the dogs no matter how I felt and carry on. And, though I didn’t understand when He made it clear it was NOT time to quit, He ultimately brought me understanding.
The Lord was teaching me to depend 100% on Him instead of on myself and others. He wanted me to depend on Him for everything right down to the strength to get through each day and the wisdom I needed to do the work to which He had called me. He was using the dogs to refine me and to teach me lesson after lesson. How to be loving, sensitive, compassionate, giving, humble, kind, patient, trusting in Him, faithful to Him, obedient to Him, joyful despite my circumstances, to rest in Him, to handle stress gracefully, to be merciful, to persevere, to extend grace, to forgive, to be creative in using resources wisely, to lead, etc. He was refining me through it all. He was also using me to bless the dogs, and He was using the dogs to bless me. And He was using the dogs to introduce me to people to whom I could talk about Him and to whom I could minister.
It was NOT time to quit because it was NOT the Lord’s will for me to quit. He had His reasons, and He had His plans and purpose in my having the dogs. Over time, due to the death of some and the adoption of others, I ended up with less dogs. But even as I write this, I am surrounded in a small New York City apartment by five handicapped and senior rescued dogs who are a big part of my life and ministry. Though the Lord ended my dog rescue work, He made it clear He wanted me to keep these five dogs for the rest of their lives and that He continues to have a purpose in it all.
Is there a lesson in this for you? Sometimes we want to quit something such as a job, relationship, ministry opportunity, education, Bible study, a chapter of our lives, going to a specific church, something or someone to which the Lord has called us, etc., and it seems perfectly obvious and logical and apparent that that’s exactly what we should do. We may even have our loved ones or co-workers or mentors telling us to quit. But our decision about whether or not to quit should NOT be based on our feelings, our circumstances, people’s opinions, etc. We should NOT quit unless and until it’s the will of the Lord God almighty.
What should we do when we find ourselves desperately wanting to quit? We should pray to the Lord, cry out to the Lord, pour out our emotions, frustrations, hurts, worries, etc. to the Lord, seek forgiveness for any wrongdoing in our hearts and actions, dig deep into the Bible to see how the Lord might answer our cries through His Word, reach out to Christ followers to help us hear God, and spend time listening for the voice of the Lord.
God will let us know if and when it’s time to quit. And when the Lord makes clear that it’s NOT time to quit, if He is leading us to persevere, when we yield ourselves to Him and walk in obedience to Him, He will give us everything we need to press forward.
Led by His Spirit, all for His glory!