Prepare – Romans 8:31-39
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I remember the first sermon Andy preached. He was around 27 and was pushing hard to get through seminary while we were pregnant with our 3rd child, Mikayla. I worked full-time 4 long days a week and Andy went to school and worked part-time at church. It was grueling. I remember Andy waking me up in the middle of the night to type his hand-written papers on the fancy word processor we had. It was almost impossible to gauge the perfectly indented and spaced finished product that he needed. Lots of paper wadded up and thrown – toward the basket. Then, get up early, go to work, you know the rest. Exhausted. Weary. Questioning – is it really worth it? Can I take one more step? Do I just give up?
I’m sure Abraham and Sarah grew weary at times, Paul, Ruth, Joseph, everyone – and I mean every human being that has ever lived. Don’t we all feel like giving up from time to time? I’m not saying give up on life…necessarily. But, run away. Be somewhere else. Be someone else.
Elijah – that’s who Andy preached about – Elijah. His amazing feat on Mt. Carmel. It was really quite an amazing message. Elijah lived when Ahab was King. In spite of Ahab or maybe because of him, Elijah had many miraculous experiences. I encourage you to read I Kings 17 and see if you can identify 3. It makes sense that Elijah would be confident and ready to obey God, no matter what. Experiences like this give us everything we need to stay away from that attitude of giving up. We just remember what
God has done in the past and we have confidence to press on, right? That’s what it looks like with Elijah.
Andy preached from I Kings 18:20-40. Even if you’ve read this many times you want to read it again. Can’t you see Andy passionately sharing about Elijah’s bravery and boldness in calling people to choose between the One True God and Baal? The culmination of fire that burned up the offering and everything around it. Elijah so wanted his people to KNOW God. A powerful message and a powerful sermon. It brought confirmation for Andy to step forward into ministry with confidence and was an absolute mountain top experience for Elijah.
You know there is a “but,” don’t you? What happened that by I Kings 19:4 Elijah says, “I have had enough, Lord. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Please read and take in all that happened to Elijah in those first few verses. What is he experiencing? How is it impacting him? What lies did he believe?
Our “give up” moments are not always predictable. I know for Andy and I they certainly haven’t been. We have been knocked down. We have had overwhelming darkness in our lives. Have you been there? Maybe you are there now? I know for me, I may know I’m being deceived and that I’m listening to the wrong voice but at least for a moment, it’s just too hard to get back up.
Maybe you have been knocked down. For some the loneliness and isolation is just too much. The stress and fear is overwhelming. It could just be the unknown – not sure how to respond to our loved ones or those we come in contact with. But if in any way you feel like you just want to give in to sin, to temptation, to the loneliness and fear, give in to self-deprecation, shame or “give up” on a relationship, on your purpose, on life – I want to encourage and challenge you with THE Word that brings life and truth and sets us free –
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. II Corinthians 12:9
Don’t give up! God has you. Get back up. Right now – get up. “Run the race or the race will run you.” – Andy Veith
~ Loree Veith