The expression “never give up” is about as old as the hills, but it’s some of the best advice ever heard.  All of us face difficulties in our lives, and without doubt many times we have given up on something, or at least wanted to.  Today I’d like to talk about that.

Patience is something we all need, and most of us want it when? Right now.  In over twenty years in ministry I’ve learned that God does not always answer prayer “instantly”.  It reminds me of a story of a man who prayed and reminded God that a minute is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a minute, and a penny like a million dollars and a million dollars as a penny. So He says, Lord, may I have a penny?  And the Lord replied, “In a minute…”
You see, God inhabits eternity, and we inhabit this physical world.  God thinks of our eternal future, and we think of the here and now.  Of course, there are those who think of the “hereafter”, and they are “here after” all they can get from God.  It takes all kinds, you know.

I’d like for you to think of these scenarios from the Bible, and it deals not only with faith, but our humanity as well.  We pray and ask God for things, and when they don’t come “immediately”, our faith and endurance is tested.  In Matthew 7:7-11 the Lord Jesus said the following:

Mat 7:7  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Mat 7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Mat 7:9  Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Mat 7:10  Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
Mat 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Do you see mention of “when” there?  I don’t, so that means ask, seek, and knock and leave it in the hands of the LORD as to the “when” part.  Sometimes when we encounter a delay in the answer to prayer, we see it as a “NO” from God, when it really is not.  Now we know all His promises are “YEA AND AMEN”.  So to read the Word of God is to see the will of God, and what He has said “YES” to is yes, and what He has said “NO” to is no.  And no amount of church committee meetings or the popular opinion of man or political opinion will change that, period.  God’s creation, God’s rules, right?  Right.

For example, concerning healing, many people ask for prayer for healing.  It is God’s will to heal every time?  Well, the Lord Jesus healed all who came to Him, and never refused to heal anyone, not even once.  Were all the sick in Israel healed?  No, only the ones who came seeking and asking Jesus were healed.  The ones who didn’t were not healed.  Thus, the “ask, seek, and knock” parable is well illustrated here by the Lord Jesus.  However, many people insist it is NOT always God’s will to heal, yet they run to the doctor to seek their healing.  Some of them die, hoping to be cured, yet they aren’t, so they blame God for not keeping His Word. To them I say, If you believe it isn’t God’s will for you to be healed, then STAY SICK, for you are trying to go against God’s will. Of course, you see how silly THAT is, don’t you?  If you are truly seeking God and asking for His mercy, His answer is always YES, and that never changes, for God never changes, He is the same forever.  And that is a sure foundation for our faith.

But faith also involves our humanity, not just His Word.  Let me give you an example that involves the parable of the sower in Matthew 13.  I don’t have room for it all here, so you’ll have to go read it for yourself. The disciples asked why Jesus spoke to the people in parables, and His response in verse 16 told them THEY were granted understanding, yet in verse 18, He explained the parable to them, because He knew they really DIDN’T understand.

Mat 13:18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
Mat 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
Mat 13:20  But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Mat 13:21  Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
Mat 13:22  He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
Mat 13:23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Jesus went on to teach the multitudes other parables, and in Matthew 15 He said the following to the Scribes and Pharisees:
Mat 15:7  Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
Mat 15:8  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Mat 15:9  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Mat 15:10  And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:
Mat 15:11  Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
Mat 15:12  Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
Mat 15:13  But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.
Mat 15:14  Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
Mat 15:15  Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.
Mat 15:16  And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
Mat 15:17  Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
Mat 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
Mat 15:19  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
Mat 15:20  These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Can you imagine how Jesus might have been weary from his travels and a long day of teaching, and then the disciples, who SUPPOSEDLY understood the parables, because God had given to them to understand, and Peter said, “Declare unto us this parable”?  Is it possible that Jesus might have thrown up His hands is disbelief when Peter said that, when He replied, Are ye also yet without understanding? You can see the human side of Jesus here, for He was fully God, and yet fully human, and came in the form of a man to share in our humanity and to be tempted and tried as WE are.

We often think of the disciples as extraordinary people who walked with Jesus, celebrities if you will: the inner circle of those who had access to Jesus, yet we fail to read between the lines and see not only the humanity of Jesus, but the humanity of the disciples.  They got tired, hungry and discouraged just like WE do, they were just ordinary people whom Jesus called and said, Follow Me, just like He is calling YOU to follow Him.  They faced persecution and ridicule from the Scribes and Pharisees, and keep in mind, they WALKED everywhere, and didn’t ride in air-conditioned cars like we do today.   But one thing has not changed: they had to believe Jesus, and walk the walk, whether it brought good times or bad, and so do we. Thank God, He is patient and longsuffering with us, and He continues to work with us until we “get it”, if we will continue to seek Him.

Of course, we read about how Jesus was tempted and tried by the devil for forty days in the wilderness, and it says afterward “He was hungered”.  There weren’t any fast food restaurants in the wilderness, and Jesus knew He had to see this temptation to its end, and He did, and I doubt if it was a pleasant time for Him.  Yet He never gave up on His calling and mission on this earth.  Some of us, when we hit a “speed bump”, see another one ahead and turn around and leave, instead of pressing into our blessing.  Hello?  Did God promise us roses without thorns?  I’m reminded of Mark 11:24, Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.  WHEN, LORD? Right now?  Well, that depends on YOU as well as God.   Are you THANKFUL and APPRECIATIVE to God during your “Wait training”?  Are your words filled with praise and thanksgiving unto God?  You know,  there is more to it that “Ask, Seek, and Knock”.  There is believing it’s done from the moment you asked.

There’s the account of how Daniel sought God in prayer over a matter, and he didn’t receive a speedy answer.  We LIKE speedy answers to prayer, right?  Yet, he continued to press in.  Here, let’s read about it:

Dan 10:1  In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
Dan 10:2  In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.
Dan 10:3  I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
Dan 10:4  And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;
Dan 10:5  Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:
Dan 10:6  His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.
Dan 10:7  And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.
Dan 10:8  Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.
Dan 10:9  Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.
Dan 10:10  And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
Dan 10:11  And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
Dan 10:12  Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
Dan 10:13  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
Dan 10:14  Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.

Now this is important to realize this was during the “Old Testament” days, yet even then prayers were sometimes not “instantly” answered, and people had to continue to press in, even as today.  The important thing we need to realize, is that God IS faithful to answer, that we should never give up, no matter what it looks like.  I find that God is NEVER late, but He is seldom early, at least not according to HIS timing.  Forget YOUR timing, God’s clock runs according to GOD time,  but He is absolutely mindful of your faith, obedience, praise, worship and thanksgiving, even as He was of Daniel’s.

There have been those who have given up on God’s deliverance or healing, and had they only held on for just a bit longer, would have received it.  But they let the devil discourage them and convince them that God is off somewhere on vacation.  Don’t let that happen to YOU!

Never give up, for it is written in these verses to encourage you:

Mat_24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Mar_13:13  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Jas_5:11  Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.