A number of years ago I wrote a song called, “Just Keep On Keepin’ On.” The song talks about not giving up. This is essential, especially when you are praying for a breakthrough in some area of your life. In this article, I am going to discuss two extremely important truths. First, don’t quit in the middle of the struggle, and what Jesus does when our strength is gone.
Don’t Quit in the Middle of the Struggle
Matthew, Mark, and John tell an interesting story about Jesus and Peter walking on the water. Although there are many truths and insights that are in this story, there is one detail that is often overlooked. Mark tells us that the disciples were, “…straining at the oars, because the wind was against them” (Mark 6:48, NIV). John adds that the disciples were rowing and struggling against the waves and wind for “three or three and a half miles…” (John 6:19, NIV).
What I want you to see is that they did not just sit in the midst of their storm and do nothing. These men did everything they could to make progress and keep the boat afloat. Sometimes people feel like it is a badge of honor or a testament of their faith to just do nothing and declare that God will take care of me. And let me say that it is wonderful to have confidence in Jesus that He will supply all of your needs and see you through difficulties and trials, however, that does not give us a license to just give up. These disciples did everything they could, with all of their strength and ability, until Jesus supplied their need.
Consider some of these examples. The woman with the issue of blood risked the ridicule and harsh censure of the authorities to go out amongst the crowded throng, just so she could touch the hem of the garment of Jesus. “She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed” (Matthew 9:21, NIV). The crowd told the blind man to stop yelling for Jesus. They said he was embarrassing himself and them. However, “He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:38, NIV). I could go on but the point is, these people did everything they could until they received their request from the Lord. My friend, don’t spiritualize giving up, just keep on keepin’ on until the answer comes.
What Jesus Does When Our Strength is Gone
When Jesus got to the disciples and entered into the boat, the disciples were exhausted. Often in our struggle to exist and move forward in the midst of our storms and trials, we become emotionally, spiritually, and even physically exhausted. And, although the Lord has shown up, and we have our miracle or answer to our prayers, we are just not sure if we can go any farther. This is where Jesus takes over.
First, Matthew and Mark record that when Jesus entered into the boat the winds ceased (Matthew 14:32; Mark 6:51). There is a powerful truth here, and that is, when Jesus is in your boat, your business, your marriage, He can make the winds cease. He can calm your troubled sea.
This brings me to a very important point. In Matthew 6:13 the King James Version of the Bible translates this verse, “But deliver us from evil.” However, in the original Greek there is an article modifying it, which means that it should be taken substantivally. In other words, it should be translated, as it is in many of your modern translations, “Deliver us from the evil one.” You might ask, why does this matter? Because of this truth, God does not always keep His children out of dangers, disasters, or the ugliness of the world. In short, He does not always deliver us from evil. But He does deliver us from the evil one. Although our lives may not always be a rose garden, He has promised to protect us from the devil himself (John 10:28-30; 17:15).
To go back again to our story, Jesus did one more thing of extreme significance. After He entered into the boat, He miraculously transported the boat to the shore where the disciples were heading (John 6:16). The Holy Spirit did something very similar to Philip. When he and the Ethiopian Eunuch came up out of the water, Luke tells us that the Holy Spirit transported Philip about 25 miles to Azotus. The Greek word for “took him away” is ἥρπασεν which literally means to seize, carry off by force, or to snatch away.
There are times after going through a trial that your strength is gone. It is at those times that God will lift us up and we find ourselves suddenly to the place we were striving for.
Paul gave some very important advice. “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). My friend, Just Keep On Keepin’ On.