Feel like giving up? Feel like you’re hopeless and the only thing left to do is just walk away, slam the door, never look back and hop on a bus going somewhere, you don‘t even care where? Ever just want to scream out, “Calgon….take me away!”
Recently a dear friend texted me to ask how I was doing. She was concerned about me as I was dealing with a mother in a nursing home following the removal of a second brain tumor, a father dealing with a new spot on his voice box that needs to be biopsied, my own chronic back and leg pain, not to mention all the daily chores of housework, caring for my own families’ needs, and working a job. My response to her was this, “Do Christians ever have a breaking point? Because I believe I’m approaching mine!” I was most definitely experiencing a “Calgon…take me away” moment - my breaking point.
“In human psychology, the breaking point is a moment of stress in which a person breaks down or a situation becomes critical. A breaking point can lead to a shift in morals and world perception.” (Wikipedia)
Now here’s MY definition of breaking point - “the desire to give up, quit, throw in the towel, take your ball and go home; due to stressful circumstances that break your will, that cause hopelessness and despair, that shakes your faith and sometimes can cause you to doubt the very God you believe in, or make you just want Jesus to come back already because you’re sick and tired of all the drama.” Calgon take me away - turns into Jesus, take me away!
Sometimes the circumstances are so heavy, the pain leads many to believe that the only way out is to take their own lives. But the real reason some commit suicide is not because of the pain, it’s because they no longer have hope. They can’t break free and there seems to be no solutions to their problems. They can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, their perception is that they are buried in darkness.
It reminds me of Job. Job knew what it was like to feel hopelessness and despair - to have the light drowned out by the darkness. I’m sure Job had many “Calgon, take me away” moments. God had taken away everything that Job held dear. At one point he begged to die, rather than to live with nothing.
How are you like Job? What has God “taken away“? Do you feel there’s no end to your situation, that it will never get better? Maybe you’ve even considered quitting - giving up on a rebellious teen, walking away from a job where you’ve been cheated and mistreated, closing the door on a broken marriage, withdrawing yourself from your family and your friends to avoid future hurt, going through with the abortion so no one will know, giving up the fight on an illness that threatens to take your life.
In one way or another we all have been there. We’ve all felt hopeless and when we do, the desire to give up floods our very being. There are many who hide and go through the motions of life even though inside they’re hurting. They have cut themselves off from those they love and the things they love. Oh, they haven’t gone anywhere physically, but inside they have stopped fighting. Some hide it so well that no one would ever realize the pain they face daily.
So how do we as Christians avoid the temptation to give up? How do we keep ourselves from hanging up the phone when God puts us on hold? Where do we find the strength to go on when all our strength is gone?
“Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” Job 42:1-3
God has a plan - no matter how desperate your situation may be. And His plans cannot be altered. God has a purpose for your life AND for whatever struggle you may be facing today. Giving up is not part of that plan. Romans 8:28 tells us that God works everything for our good if we love Him. And we as Christians are called to live out His purposes for our lives. According to Barnes Notes on the Bible the phrase, “for our good” means the following:
“They (our afflictions) shall cooperate; they shall mutually contribute to our good. They take off our affections from this world; they teach us the truth about our frail, transitory, and lying condition; they lead us to look to God for support, and to heaven for a final home; and they produce a subdued spirit. a humble temper, a patient, tender, and kind disposition. This has been the experience of all saints; and at the end of life they have been able to say it was good for them to be afflicted.”
You are not in the situation you are in today by coincidence. It’s not just a case of bad luck. It’s not because your momma chose to feed you peas instead of corn. It’s to fulfill God’s purposes in your life. It’s to remind you that you NEED Him and you can’t do anything aside from His power working in your life. And sometimes His plans don’t seem like good ones in our eyes. Job says on our behalf as well as his own, I have belly-ached about my situation, things I didn’t know anything about, not taking into consideration that You had it all under control God - that You had something more wonderful in mind for me.
God is in the business of transformation and God is able to transform YOU. You want to know His will for your life? “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)
It’s not always easy to change our thinking, especially when it feels as if our prayers are bouncing off the walls, or when it feels as if God must be on vacation, like maybe in the Bermuda Triangle. And when we can’t seem to find the pulse of God, we buckle under the pressures, the expectations that people place upon us and those we place upon ourselves. We just want to give up! It’s important to renew our minds everyday. To focus on the truth of who God is and what He promises to do in our lives. And yes, it’s a faith journey. I have heard it said that heartbreak is a blessing from God. It is His way of keeping us from what is wrong for us. The old way of thinking focuses on the heartbreak. The new way of thinking thanks God for whatever it is He has saved us from.
I myself have experienced, is experiencing, and will continue to experience circumstances in my life where I feel like throwing in the towel. Would I even be writing this if I wasn’t going through what I am facing today? Probably not. Perhaps this is part of God’s invisible purpose for my pain.
Even if God’s plan involves NOT changing my circumstances, I must grasp the fact that my hope is not based upon what God can do for me here and now. The most important hope I cling to is an eternal hope. The hope that has been provided for me by Jesus’ death on the cross. Those who believe in Him and His sacrifice find true hope and healing on the other side. But to receive that reward in glory, I must press on - even in the “Calgon, take me away” moments.