Have you ever felt your trials are getting heavier and heavier? Do you ever feel that you are at your absolute limits? I know I have—experiencing the feeling of having exhausted every fiber of our being, losing hope and wanting to quit. Sometimes we get so burdened down with trials that we feel we cannot go another day. Sometimes we even feel we cannot take another step. However, we can. We must!
Such trials and challenges can sometimes lead us to think that God is no longer there. But Deuteronomy 31:8 tells us of God: “He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed.” Notice He says He will not leave us!
Years ago I watched a movie that illustrates how much we can endure. Titled Facing the Giants, this 2006 movie was about an American football coach who went through hard times and then decided to hand it all over to God.
The part that most affected me was the “death crawl” scene. His team had been losing and concluded nothing would change. Seeing their losing attitude, the coach decided to have the team captain do the death crawl—carrying a fellow player on his back while moving forward on his hands and feet. The person with the heavy load cannot allow his knees to touch the ground. The coach took this exercise one step further and blindfolded the player so he would not see how far he had to go, become overwhelmed and give up.
With each press forward, the load felt heavier and progress seemed harder. The coach, sensing his team captain wanted to quit, got down on his hands and knees and continually yelled out: “Don’t quit!” “You can do this!” “Ten more steps!” “Five more steps!” “Don’t quit!” The coach continued to yell out. When the player could no longer go on, he collapsed with the 160-pound teammate on his back! When he looked up, his coach told him he had just done the death crawl 100 yards! The coach had only asked him to go 50 yards but knew the player could do more!
So, what does football and the death crawl have to do with the trials of today? We can learn crucial lessons with this fighting spirit of “Don’t quit!” God knows you have a lot more endurance in you than you think, just like that coach had belief in his team captain.
Here are three things that will help us fight through trials.
1. Don’t quit! You cannot win if you quit.
No matter how hard, no matter how hopeless, we must not quit! We can make it with God. We must press on! (Philippians 3:12-14).
2. We need encouragement while doing the death crawl.
Ask for strength and encouragement when your load is so heavy and you can’t go any further. What got the player through this death crawl was his coach’s encouragement. We all need someone to encourage us along the way. Ask God for encouragement. He is our biggest supporter. He is nearer to us when we hurt and are suffering.
Psalm 46:1-2 says: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” And Psalm 55:22 encourages us with, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (compare 1 Peter 5:7).
3. Be willing to carry on your back your brother or sister who is struggling through trials.
In the movie, the death crawl was a dramatic example of someone carrying another on his back. Similarly, we should do all we can to help those who are going through trials of their own! Encourage them. You may even have to carry them for a while by listening, praying for them and just being there. Galatians 6:2 encourages us to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Spoiler alert for the movie! Skip now to the next paragraph if you’d rather not know what happens. As you might guess, the underdog team went on to defeat the Giants because they did not quit when winning seemed hopeless.
Whenever it’s hard to carry on, keep in mind the wonderful assurance of Isaiah 40:28-31: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary, His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
God is bigger than any trials or challenges we face! He is there to help us to be as eagles to fight our own giants and win. With God, all things are possible. We will make it through. We will win!