It is common for runners, and athletes in any endurance sport, to “hit the wall” as they push themselves past their comfort level. Here’s how the long distance runner Dick Beardsley described it: “It felt like an elephant had jumped out of a tree onto my shoulders and was making me carry it the rest of the way in.”
Hitting the wall is a very real physical condition. Once carbohydrates and hydration are diminished, the body wants to stop. The body burns out of energy and becomes so tired it can’t go forward.
Just before the grueling Boston Marathon, an article in Harvard Health predicted that up to 40 percent of these optimistic and determined souls will slam into a sudden sensation of overwhelming, can’t-do-this fatigue several miles before they get a chance to experience the glory of crossing the finish line.
What is true for the body is true for the soul. Spiritually speaking, sometimes we also hit the wall. We feel like an elephant has jumped on our back. We hit that can’t-do-this spiritual fatigue. Life is an endurance race, in which we all will at some point “hit the wall” and want to quit.
Adapted from John Bishop, God Distorted (Multnomah Books, 2013), pp. 171-172
The Disciples Experienced Hitting The Wall
Luke 5:4-7 When Jesus had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
Simon Peter and his fishing partners had worked hard all night long with nothing to show for their labor. Now they were tired, discouraged, and probably a little impatient when Jesus asked them to put their nets out again. After all, they were the experts, and this was their occupation. The night was the best time to catch fish, not the daytime, and Jesus was a carpenter by trade, not a fisherman.
Have you ever felt that you have done your best, over a long period of time, and just get tired? You feel like you have run out of energy and have nothing to show for all your work? Maybe you have prayed for an answer, but heaven has been silent. Perhaps you have spent time witnessing, but no one has been saved. Have you struggled with a temptation for weeks, but feel that you have made no progress and the temptation is as strong as it was when you started fighting? Maybe you have done your best to please God at your job but there has been no reward. You have studied hard at school, but the best grades haven’t been given to you, and you are discouraged about the hope of getting into the college you have chosen.
Like the disciples, you wonder if it is worthwhile to keep on trying. What’s the point, you ask? You have worked hard, given it your best effort, but there is absolutely nothing to show for your work. Keep trusting the Lord! Do not give in to discouragement when you hit the wall.
5 Reasons Not To Give In To Discouragement
1. Jesus is Praying For You
You are not alone in your efforts for God. Jesus has promised to pray for you every day. He prays for you when you are tired, when you are discouraged, when you are tempted, when you stumble, and especially when you are at the point of giving up.
Hebrews 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.
2. God is Working Even in This Situation
It may feel like you are spinning your wheels and that you can’t find any traction at all. Your hard work is pointless, your time wasted, and your failures seem to mount up against you far outweighing any good that you have done.
Don’t quit! God is at work in your life, especially in this difficult situation. God is an expert at using the events of your life to accomplish a lasting result. Nothing in your life is wasted because God will turn it to good.
Philippians 1:6 …being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
3. God Gives Fresh Resources Every Morning
When you feel like a failure, whether through outside events or your own sin, it is vital to remember that you depend on God’s “great love” (literally, his “unfailing loyal love”) and not your own love to God.
God’s love and compassion for you as renewed every morning. There is a fresh supply waiting for you as your feet hit the floor and you start your day. God’s mercy comes from an unlimited source which can never run out. Draw your strength for life from God. Each morning you need to refill your courage and motivation from God through prayer and reading His word.
Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Isaiah 33:2 LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.
4. You Will Be Rewarded for Not Giving Up
The trials of life can bring you to your breaking point. You might wonder why God has allowed things to get so bad in your life and what is taking Him so long to answer your prayers for relief.
Don’t give up. God has allowed this particular thing to happen for a purpose in this season of your life. He is proving the value of your faith and teaching you eternal lessons that cannot be learned any other way.
Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
5. Remember Jesus
You are not alone in your discouragement in the battle of life. There is Someone who walked this path before you and who can sympathize with you. He knows exactly how you feel and you will be encouraged if you keep your eyes on Him. He has promised to give you His strength, His endurance, His victory, and His joy.
Jesus certainly came to our world to die for our sins. But He also came to experience life fully, in all its sorrows, temptations, and long nights of the soul, so that He can know exactly what you are enduring for the sake of His name. Be encouraged!
Hebrews 12:1-3 And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 2:17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God
The Disciples Were Rewarded For Being Faithful In Discouragement
Luke 5:4-7 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
An elderly lady was once asked by a young man who had grown discouraged with life, whether he ought to give up the struggle. “I am beaten every time,” he said dejectedly. “I feel like I should just give up.”
“Did you ever notice,” she replied, smiling into the troubled face before her, “that when the Lord told the discouraged fishermen to cast their nets again, it was right in the same old spot where they had been fishing all night and had caught nothing?”
The Lord also promises you a great result if you will keep on doing what He has asked you to do. Depend on Him to keep His word.