So you’re ready to quit? Been there a time or two. This life is not for wimps.
I watched my mama do hard things all my life. Nothing came easy, but she stayed in the fight! She refused to sit it out on the sidelines of life. She had every reason to quit, but she had every reason to make it, too. She kept her eyes on a higher purpose that proved so much bigger than that one moment in time. I watched God infuse her with strength that was not her own over and again.
So when I read about this dude, John Mark, calling it quits at only the second stop in his journey with the famous Apostle Paul, I find myself sharing Paul’s frustration with his wimpiness. Was he expecting a cakewalk?!
How many people would have lined up to take this adventure with the legendary Apostle Paul, the one determined to turn the world upside down for Jesus? (And he did!) The journey demanded much, but talk about living a significant life!
There’s no explanation given as to why John Mark packed up and got the heck out of Dodge. We just see that “John Mark left them and returned [home].” (Acts 13:13)
Maybe he felt homesick. Perhaps he felt more allegiance to the other leader, Barnabas, so watching Paul take the lead didn’t sit well with him. Did John Mark become ill? (If so, Paul and Barnabas likely faced the same bout with sickness. THEY didn’t bail!)
Maybe the dangers and difficulties simply proved more rigorous than he anticipated. Who knows? This young guy just doesn’t seem to be cut out for the hard stuff at this juncture of his maturity. (I’m frustrated with him but truth is, I see myself in him, too!)
We’ve all felt like quitting, haven’t we? It’s hard and just keeps getting harder. We feel desperate to pull the relief valve, if only for a few minutes. The intensity of the journey seems as if it will surely swallow us whole at times.
But hear me, friends. John Mark regretted his decision for the rest of his days. He knew he was made for more. Once he tasted a momentary reprieve, he quickly realized that the break with his purpose was breaking him.
It’s been a few long years of bizarre turbulence in our world. The battle seems to only intensify. While some folks enjoy the drama, most of us feel the fatigue. It’s exhausting. We long for a reprieve, however we can get it. But friends, if we step away now, we’ll regret it. We’ll become a casualty in this war against all that is good and true.
The Lord has sent me to encourage your weary heart today. Don’t let the heaviness of this hour deter you from God’s destiny for you. I know it feels like you’re all by yourself at times, but that’s just not true! God Himself comes where you are and becomes your very present help. He’s too good to leave you to yourself.
In fact, if you determine to remain in His boat through these wind-tossed seas, I promise you that you’ll emerge with triumph from your testing . . . somehow, some way!
Did you know that the deliverance of many depends upon your steadfastness? If you don’t keep going, those waiting on the other side of these waters will not make it.
Keep going, weary traveler. Your best days are before you. You’ve come too far to quit! God is for you, and if He’s for you, all the stuff against you doesn’t amount to a hill of beans! He’s a very present help…for you…right now!
For comments or prayer, contact Dr. Lanier at www.HopeCommunityChurch.tv.