There have probably been times when you’ve felt like you’ve been squeezed to the last drop and you didn’t have an ounce of strength or willpower left. The apostle Paul admitted to “despairing even of life,”1 and I’m sure that many of us have gone to those depths at one time or another. We’ve reached the point that we felt we couldn’t even bear to get up in the morning and face another day, and maybe you’re going through something like that right now. Perhaps you have been for a long time.
But here’s the important part: Despite Paul’s trials and tribulations—both in the form of outward persecution and in the form of inward despair, discouragement, and doubt—he held on, declaring that, “I don’t care what happens to me, as long as I finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do. And that work is to tell the good news about God’s great kindness.”2
That’s a good one for us to remember: “I’m going to keep holding on no matter what happens. I’m not going to let it deter me from the life path God has given me.” That’s the kind of determination that kept Paul going, so that even though he was “perplexed,” he was “not in despair.”3
“Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”4 How can you be unmovable? By holding on to the Rock—Jesus.5 Everything else is unstable and can get washed away when the waves of life toss you to and fro. The only thing that’ll stay right there and won’t budge an inch is Jesus!
And don’t worry if you don’t think you’re strong enough to hold on, because you don’t have to be strong in yourself. God will give you the strength.6 All you have to do is put your will on His side and want to hold on, and He’ll give you the strength to keep holding on even when you don’t think you can anymore.
But you do have to determine in your heart that you’re going to follow God no matter what. As Isaiah said, “The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.”7 He must have been going through a pretty tough time, but he was determined to hold on regardless; and if you do the same, you won’t be ashamed either.
When your life is burdened with problems, it’s natural to wonder why. One reason for problems is that life itself is a constant struggle. Wherever you are, whoever you are, whatever your job, this life, living on earth as a human being, involves a lot of problems, period. And believe it or not, that’s God’s plan.
Sometimes we’re tempted to wonder, How can I manage this? It’s just too much! We can be comforted to know that God allows this as part of His plan for us. He sometimes allows us to see the mountain ahead of us so we’ll come to the end of ourselves and acknowledge that we can’t do it on our own without His help.
If the problems were any smaller and we thought we might be able to handle them, we’d be tempted to try to do it in our own strength. It’s just human nature. But if it gets so difficult and so big, that’s often the point at which we truly commit all things to Him.
Regardless of how we may happen to feel, if we love God and are walking by faith and following His Word, then we know that our relationship with Him is firm. And we certainly know that His love for us is unchangeable, unwavering. He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love. The mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. I will never leave you nor forsake you.”8
So no matter how much we might feel “squeezed to the last drop,” we’re not alone. His love is there for us—always. If you “draw near to God, He will draw near to you.”9 A comforting thought!