Dear Precious Friend,
Have you ever stopped or given up on a dream, a plan, or a vision too soon, when you were almost at the finish line? If so, you could say…you didn’t finish what you started.
Many years ago, when I was between the ages of 13-17 years old, I made all my own clothes. I would go to the store to pick out the pattern, material, zipper, buttons, and the matching thread. Happily, I would take my treasures home, lay the pattern on the material, cut it out, and start sewing. Oh, how I loved creating my own garments. I would even lie in bed at night and think about how to add my personal touch to each piece of clothing to make it more interesting and beautiful. I was very proud of my creations. Sewing was so much fun for me, and it also saved money.
However, sometimes I would start one project and then decide to move to another project before I finished the first one. My mother would say, “Denise, you need to finish what you’ve started before you go on to the next project.” I didn’t know at the time the value and wisdom of her words, and how right she was.
As I became an adult, I would often find myself starting a project with great excitement, but not finishing it. A habit like this is more than just failure to complete a project; it can influence our character to give up on other difficult tasks that don’t seem to be going the way we want them to go. We’ll just give up on the project at hand and start something else — or maybe even quit trying all together.
God’s character and reputation are completely the opposite. Philippians 1:6 (NKJV) says, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” God started His great work of salvation in you, and He will not stop until it is finished.
It’s very important that you do not give up in the middle of what God has shown you to do. Maybe you are believing for a baby, but the baby hasn’t come yet. Or you have prayed for God to heal your marriage, but you and your spouse are still arguing. Maybe you are believing for a better job and you’re still having trouble paying your bills. Developing an “I will not give up” attitude is so important to your faith being effective no matter what is happening around you.
I want to give you one example from the Word of God about a woman who would not give up. In Matthew 15:22, we become acquainted with a woman who was in a desperate situation.
“And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (Matthew 15:22-28).
The woman’s daughter was grievously vexed with a devil. Somehow this woman heard about Jesus and went to Him, crying out to Him, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David.” In verse 23, we read that Jesus did not answer her — not even one word! To make matters worse, the disciples started planning to send her away. The situation did not look good for this woman. It didn’t look like she would get any help at all. Jesus seemingly ignored her, and the disciples were trying to get rid of her. But she didn’t give up. She believed her daughter would be set free.
In verse 24, Jesus spoke to her, but he said, “…I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” This woman was a Canaanite, not a Jew. But even that didn’t stop her. Enduring those three rejections, she could have given up and said, “Forget it. He’s not going to help me.”
Most people would have responded that way and just given up…but not this woman. In verse 25, we read that she became more determined and went straight to Jesus and worshiped Him. Then she said the simplest prayer, “Lord, help me.”
Jesus replied, in effect, “I’m not supposed to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs.” Jesus was not being condescending, but this was how the Jews spoke of anyone who didn’t have a covenant with God.
Most of us would have given up if Jesus had referred to us as a dog! But this woman was determined that she was going to get what she had come for — her daughter’s deliverance.
In verse 27, she again called Him Lord and in essence said, “You’re right. I am not a Jew, and I don’t deserve the children’s bread. But even the little dogs can eat the crumbs off the floor.” Then Jesus said, “Woman, great is your faith. Be it unto you what you want” (see v. 28).
The Bible says in verse 28 that she got exactly what she wanted, and her daughter was made whole from that moment. That woman did not quit until the desired end! She pressed on to the finish line and didn’t stop short of her desired goal.
Oh, friend, do not stop believing, do not stop expecting, and do not stop praying! Jesus is faithful. You need to finish the assignment in front of you before you go on to another.
I never knew when my mother was telling me to finish the garment I’d started before moving on to the next that her words would be a foundational truth in my walk with God. It is very important that we take the assignments of God and bring them to completion.
What will happen if we refuse to give up and we push forward to the finish line with what God has put in our heart to do? We will see the fruit of our labor and persistence!
My friend, do not quit! Keep pushing forward! Let’s be like this woman in Matthew 15 who would not give up until she reached the finish line and got her miracle.
Thank you so much for spending this time with me. And thank you for your responses and prayer requests. We care about you, and we want to know how we can pray for you. You can reach us at 1-800-742-5593 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to joining our faith with yours so we can rejoice with you all the way to the finish line!
Your sister in Christ,