Heathdale flower 01st May 2020

Never Give In… Never, Never, Never

When times are tough, when conditions are at their worst, when pressure is on, these are the moments that we learn what we are truly capable of and what we rely upon.

Heathdale flower

In 1941, as Britain was lining up to war against a most evil and extremely powerful Nazi regime, Winston Churchill told a generation of young people that, “These are great days. The greatest days our country has ever lived.”

Why was Churchill telling them that those bleak, uncertain, life-threatening and freedom-challenging days ahead, were also the best days of their lives. He wasn’t naïve and imagining war would coat its survivors with glory. Rather, he knew that when times are tough, when conditions are at their worst, when pressure is on, these are the moments that we learn what we are truly capable of and what we rely upon. If you are on a road that has no obstacles, be cautious, as it may not lead to anywhere worthwhile.

We can see time and again through the Bible that it is in moments of hardship when men and women are forced to act. To not give in to the situation before them, but call upon God and their God-given abilities — their mind, strength and understanding of who God made them to be — to keep placing one foot in front of the other through the storm.

The easy story that springs to mind is of Daniel, and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Other stories might come to yours.

But how do we know that we will get through the storm when it feels like its weight is pushing down on our shoulders and heads and we can’t even lift our eyes?

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine… when you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the lord your God, your Saviour… You are precious and honoured in my sight and I love you.” (Isaiah 43)

There’s an inevitability to the obstacles in this passage: when, not if. That these hard times will come, and when they do, they may come one after the other. From the waters, to the rivers to the fire, they will come, but God will not let them take us.

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, and of love, and of self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“In the world, we shall have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

In another famous speech, Winston Churchill said: “This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

In these storms, and against these mountains, it is so important for us to not give in, to not lay down but just keep walking, step by step through the storm. It is through these moments of pressure that diamonds are formed — without the pressure, we would just continue to be lumps of coal.

Even though we are tied together in this COVID environment, each of our mountains, our storms, look different at the moment. For some, it is a battle in the mind of isolation or fear. For others, it is keeping patience with family members at home, or maybe it is maintaining motivation to keep getting up and going to work behind a screen each day in your dining room. Whatever your storm looks like — it is okay — but I do believe it is important to identify it, so we can begin to take steps to get through it. I encourage you to reflect on this, or work together with a friend or loved one on reflecting on your storm at the moment.

The cling-to verse that God has given me, is Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you are.” This verse is helping me to weather the storm that is currently raging around me, in my mind and in my circumstances. For me, this takes a practical approach.

Be strong.
I get up each day, and choose to go for a walk outside. It is praying, reading the Bible and dedicating each morning to God’s priorities for the day.

Be courageous.
For me, it is making sure that during the day, in work or in my personal life, that I assess which of the balls in the air are glass and which are rubber. I don’t drop the glass balls, but I do let the rubber ones drop if I need to.

Do not be frightened.
I actively choose to not watch news, media and social media streams that do not build me up — that are laced with negative and fearful information.

Do not be dismayed.
For me, it is being kind to myself and knowing that it’s okay if I have a bad day — maybe I lost motivation and made mistakes. I know it’s okay because God has gone before me in all things. I am not perfect, but He is!

As it promises in Psalm 37:24, though I fall, I shall not be cast headlong — for the Lord holds my hand. He is with me wherever I am.

I encourage you to embrace the adversity, embrace the obstacles, because it is through the storms that we are made stronger by never giving in… never, never, never.