My family and I planned on going apple picking this past Saturday and checked out our options online. We were surprised to read a disclaimer on one of the orchard’s websites: due to the especially cold spring and the especially dry summer, the quality of the fruit being harvested this year was less than ideal. The apples we were going to pay to pick in October were negatively affected by the climate and conditions of the orchard as far back as March. Through no fault of its own, these apples were stunted in their growth; the trees were not as fruitful as they could be.
Last Sunday I watched our regional NFL team beat a conference rival. During a series of downs in the 2nd quarter, the quarterback was sacked on 1st down for a 9 yard loss and then handed off the ball for two short runs and, ultimately, a punt. The TV commentators stated the obvious – the team was unlikely to recover from the initial setback and therefore needed to cut their losses so that they could challenge their opponent later in the game. Though they were responsible for their poor performance on the field, it is safe to assume that none of the players were satisfied with their production.
Have you ever felt like one of those apples, developing in less than ideal conditions with less than desirable results? Have you ever felt like a football team that is moving in the wrong direction unable to accomplish your directive? Where do you turn when your hopes and your harvest don’t match? Allow me to give you some advice: don’t give up.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
God’s word states that if we continue to do what is right and good we will be rewarded. The orchard would still get a good, perhaps even excessive, price for their apples despite their less than ideal shape and size. The New England Patriots would win the game, successfully executing more plays than the Buffalo Bills. And we, affected by harsh conditions and harmful setbacks, will also be rewarded if we refuse to quit. Our faith will mature if we do not give up; our efforts will be fruitful if we are determined not to fold.
The reason we can have confidence and not give up is because God does not give up on us. God did not give up on David or Peter, despite their dreadful setbacks in faith and righteousness. God did not give up on Esther or Ruth, despite their development under difficult conditions. God did not give up on Abraham (who lied), Moses (who killed a man), Hosea (who was married to an adulteress), Matthew (who was a tax collector), Timothy (who was likely raised in a single-parent home) or Philemon (who was a fugitive). And God will not give up on you. You must not give up on Him.