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Question

How do you continue to not give up when everything is always turning against you?My prayers are not being answered.

Answer

Thank you for your question, it is great to have the opportunity to help you out in the testing situation you find yourself in. The answer to your question is fairly simple theoretically, but we all know it is not so easy in practice, and so I pray that God would give you the grace to cling on to Him until He answers you.

Consider these verses as we begin to look at your question:

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:22-26)

What an amazing statement of the character of God these verses are. His love, mercy and faithfulness are forever new, and will never come to an end - we can always be confident of His care for us as His people, He will never let us down. These truths are so important for all of us as we face situations similar to the one you find yourself in - our hope must not be in what we see around us, but it must be in the character of the God who is walking through those situations with us.

Our problems come when we start to allow the circumstances of life that we find ourselves in dictate what we believe about God, and that is exactly where you find yourself at the moment - you wouldn’t even consider giving up if you believed in the God of the verses above, but you’re feeling ready to throw the towel in because the seed of doubt has been sown as to whether God really is good.

Our job is to look away from the situations we are in and up to the God who is in charge of those situations and is working good for us in them in a way that is impossible for us to understand. Our response must be the same as that of the writer of Lamentations - ‘therefore I will hope in Him’. It takes faith on our part to believe in the goodness of God because we can’t see Him, but Paul the Apostle tells us how we can do this in Romans 8:32:

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

God has proved His love and commitment to us by sending the most precious thing He had into this world for us. God sent His Son to live, die and rise from death for us, and if He was willing to do that, is it not ridiculous to think of Him withholding anything good from us His children.

This is the simple answer to your predicament - keep waiting for God, because He ‘is good to those who wait for Him’. It may take time for the answer you are looking for to come about, and it may not even look like you think it will when it comes, but be assured it will come - God does not forget nor forsake His children. In this time of waiting He is testing you to see if you really do trust Him, He is purifying you as you wait in faith for Him, and you can be confident that He is working out His perfect plan for your life regardless of whether you understand what He is doing or not.

As I close why not consider some of the great stories of faith in the Bible. We could talk about Noah building his ark and waiting years for the rain to come, or we could talk about Abraham and the 40 years between the promise of a son and Isaac’s birth. We could remember David’s patience during Saul’s reign, before he became king, and we could think of Joshua wandering in the wilderness with the people of Israel, also waiting 40 years before inheriting the promise he had always believed God for.

Let us focus for a moment on the life of Joseph. Joseph knew from very early on that God had something special in store for him - God-given dreams gave him a glimpse of his family bowing down to him in the exalted place God was going to give to him, but think of the trials he had to go through to get there. He was hated by his brothers, so home life can’t have been fantastic for him, but surely he couldn’t have expected to be sold into slavery (Genesis 38), suffer complete humiliation, and probably be treated terribly for some time until he managed to work himself into favour with his new master Potiphar (Genesis 39). Not only that, but having been faithful to God in an incredibly hard situation, through no fault of his own he was then thrown into prison and therefore had to start the process all over again, possibly in even worse conditions, and suffering worse treatment than before. It’s not hard to imagine Joseph, alone in his prison cell, beginning to despair of any hope at all - why had he bothered to be faithful, and work hard when he kept on being treated so wrongly? Could we really have blamed him for just giving up, and giving in to despondency, anger and bitterness, especially when his fellow prisoner forgot to repay the kindness Joseph had shown him (Genesis 40). But Joseph didn’t - he continued to be faithful, and when his moment came he was ready to use the gift God had given him to explain Pharaoh's dream (Genesis 41).

Joseph’s story is a great picture of exactly how God works - He allows us to go through testing times to prove our faithfulness to Him, and He purifies us through suffering until we’re ready for the greater responsibility of whatever good He may want to give to us.

As I close, I do pray that God would give you the grace you need to persevere through the difficult time you find yourself in, and to cling onto Him knowing that no-one who waits for Him will ever be put to shame (Psalm 25:3).

I also encourage you to take your questions and struggles to the leaders of your local church - it is times like you are facing when we most need people around us to encourage us, and remind us of the truth we must cling to - we were never meant to walk the Christian life on our own. If you are not already part of a local church, our church finder may be able to help you find one close to you, and I encourage you to do so as a vital part of your Christian life. www.lookingforgod.com/churchfinder

Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world. 
www.lookingforgod.com/your-questions

Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:

  • Isaiah 40
  • Romans 8:24-30
  • James 5:7-11

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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