A number of ministers have shared with me their concern for parishioners who are simply giving up. “Good honest Christians are so overwhelmed by guilt and condemnation that it causes despair. When they can’t live up to their own expectations, when they fall back into sin, they decide to give up…”

Growing numbers of Christians are at the breaking point. Few Christians would even dare entertain thoughts of quitting on their love for Jesus, but in despair they consider giving up on themselves.

Some ministers today continually preach only a positive message. To hear them tell it, every Christian is receiving miracles; everybody is getting instant answers to prayer; everybody is feeling good and living well, and the whole world is bright and rosy. I love to hear that kind of preaching because I really desire all those good and healthy things for God’s people.

That’s not the way things are, though, for a great number of very honest, sincere Christians. No wonder our young people often give up in defeat. They can’t live up to the image created by religion of a carefree, rich, successful, always positive-thinking Christian. Their world is not that ideal; they live with heartbreaks, hour-by-hour crises and family problems.

Paul talked frankly about his troubles. “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8, NKJV).

Positive thinking won’t make these problems go away and “confessing” that these problems don’t really exist doesn’t change a thing. What is the cure? Paul speaks of it after describing his anguish. “Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that he will still deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:9-10).

This absolute has brought me great comfort and help. God loves me. He is a loving Father wanting only to lift us out of our weakness. It is my faith that pleases him most. He wants me to trust in his deliverance.