I’ve often wanted to give up, whether it be on my dreams, my responsibilities, or life in general. I’ve given up before even on God, letting myself slide away from Him like a boulder into a lake. I can remember that day if I try, though I wish I couldn’t. It’s been almost twenty years since then, and I like to think I’ve changed a lot. But I still give up when put under enough pressure.
Now I don’t give up easily. At least it doesn’t feel that way after all the fighting I do. But when I think about it, a lot of the “fighting” is actually complaining, worrying, and generally clenching my fists to “resist”. Even though it shouldn’t be a last resort, prayer has been that for me. I feel I should be man enough by now to handle my problems, to resist temptation and not sin, to come out victorious like a conquistador waving the banner of my team’s side. But I think I’ve just kept putting off defeat instead, barely emerging alive from beneath a pile of demons, punching them aside as I drag my paralyzed self to the edge of the lake. At the shore I use all my strength to pull myself out, since my armor is heavy with water. What armor am I even talking about? All I got on is some old trunks and rags that were once an undershirt. Still, they carry a lot of water and I strain against it all. Only now do I let out a groan, “God help me,” now that the battle’s over.
It seems I haven’t understood that the war rages on.
I sometimes feel as weak as I did those two decades ago. I know in my heart (mind, whatever) that God will rescue me if I call out to Him. But I don’t show through my actions that I understand that knowledge. I keep trying to push through the hordes by myself.
Today I read a psalm where David describes God’s rescuing him:
The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears. (Psalms 18:4-6 NLT)
That’s not even the description of the rescue. David goes on to write:
Then the earth quaked and trembled.
The foundations of the mountains shook; they quaked because of his anger.
Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth.
Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew, soaring on the wings of the wind.
He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dark rain clouds.
Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him and rained down hail and burning coals.
The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded amid the hail and burning coals.
He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies; great bolts of lightning flashed, and they were confused.
Then at your command, O Lord, at the blast of your breath, the bottom of the sea could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.
(Psalms 18:7-15 NLT)
The Lord busted up all Creation to find him, and in His fury destroyed all David’s enemies. When all this had occurred, He plucked David from the bottom of the sea. And to think I struggle to climb out of a shallow lake. God, I don’t even know how to tread water, do I? And somehow I think I can fight off the legions of satan on my own?
They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me. He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me. (Psalms 18:18-19 NLT)