I overheard a conversation this week between my 3 year old daughter and my 6 year old son:
Lilly Faith: "You ALWAYS win! You cheat!"
Will: "No, I don't cheat. I just keep playing and finish. You quit too soon."
So many times when the criticism and hard times come, we give in. Oh, we say we're in it for the long haul and our faith is strong. But what we actually do is contradictory to what we say. Why? Because it's so much easier and less stressful to give in. We don't like pain; we don't like hard work; and we're not known for receiving an "A" on our spiritual report card in the subject of patience.
Romans 12:11-12 says, "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." James 5:11 says, "We count as blessed, those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."
When you break it down further, those who have hope, patience and faith in God's provision will be blessed; not cheated.
So the next time you feel like giving in, giving up or given out, be reminded that the finish line never moves. It's in the same place it was yesterday. You just can't quit too soon!