Please don’t give up. I know you’re hurting. I know it’s hard. But please, don’t check out. Not yet.
Yes, I realize you have every reason to quit. Yes, I know you’d be totally justified in giving up. Your child has stage-four cancer. Your son was murdered in a home invasion. Your daughter died in a car accident on Interstate 65.
Your dad is dying of liver failure. Your girlfriend broke up with you because you’re both, quote, “going different directions.”
Your wife was diagnosed with glioblastoma. Your mother has pulmonary fibrosis. Your child is going blind. You have an auto-immune disease the doctors can’t figure out. You are a caregiver for your parents/sibling/spouse/family member.
Your foster child hates you. You are on a waiting list for a kidney. You are filing bankruptcy. You are in federal prison.
You are an addict in recovery; each day is an obstacle. Your teenage daughter is pregnant. Your dad has ALS. Your husband of 21 years decided he wanted a 23-year-old girl.
You are contemplating ending your own life; you even bought a handgun last week.
The circumstances don’t matter. What matters is that you’re a mess right now. A real mess. You don’t know where life is going. All you know is that you’re experiencing hard times.
Every day, life gets a little harder. Each morning, you awake waiting for life to reset itself, but it never does. And it’s so frustrating. Because this isn’t how it’s supposed to be, dammit.
What’s going on here? Why is everything so hard?
When you were a kid, nothing bad ever lasted. Suffering was always brief. You fell down and got a boo-boo, and after 48 hours, the boo-boo was healed. No big deal.
But these days nothing bad ever goes away quickly. Hard times just linger outside your front door. Bad things keep coming, like artillery from a celestial machine gun.
Your prayers remain unanswered, as though you’ve been praying to a block of steel.
After a while, you’ve grown disillusioned. You have started to believe the universe is merciless. If there is a God, He certainly doesn’t care about you. Ergo, God must be a lie. A stage farce. And anyone believing in God is, therefore, a freaking moron.
But you are wrong.
Listen, I am nobody. I have no accreditations. I am Joe Six-Pack from Alabama. I have no education. No pedigree. I drive a 23-year-old truck. I have no insight. I have no wisdom. I have no agenda. I am a man with one back surgery under his belt and an impressively crappy health insurance policy.
Moreover, I am not a big church guy. In fact, I rarely go to church unless someone’s getting married. I drink cheap beer. I play music in bars. I am a high-school dropout. I am no authority.
But I know one thing.
There is Something Up There. And this Something cares about you. This Great Being cares so much about you that He has been trying to get through to you.
In fact, He has been trying so hard to reach you that He has resorted to using the words of a horse’s ass (me).
This Great Something doesn’t care who you are, or what you believe, or who you vote for, or what lifestyle you lead, or how many tattoos you have. This Being is your Divine Parent, and parents love their kids no matter what.
Parents don’t care what kind of names you attach to them. Greek names, Jewish names, Latin names, European names, or American names. None of this matters. What matters is that you are loved. You will probably never know how loved you are.
But, oh. You are incredibly loved. You don’t know how important your life is.
You were designed by the creator of the solar system, the architect of Earth, the engineer of the Grand Canyon, the brains behind the Redwood Forest, the Great Plains, the Appalachians, Manhattan Island, and disco. You are His pride and joy.
No, I don’t know why you are suffering. I don’t know why hard times keep coming. I don’t know when the pain will end. But I know one thing: You will get through this.
This is not the end. Whatever is happening to you is happening for a reason. Someday, you’ll see. I swear.
But for now, please hold on. Please keep trying. Please keep praying. Please keep believing. And please, please, whatever you do…
Don’t give up.