By Denzil Holman
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward (Hebrews 10:35).
The crowd in the auditorium waited for the speaker to make his way to the podium. This was a day with great expectations because Winston Churchill had come to deliver an address. Everyone was sitting on the edge of his seat in anticipation of a lengthy oratory that would be remembered in years to come.
Churchill arose slowly and stiffly and walked to the podium. In that familiar, raspy voice, he spoke two words, “Never quit,” left the podium, and returned to his seat. For a few moments, there was silence, and then the applause began to grow into a crescendo. The memories of the war that had recently ended began flashing across the minds of those present. They could once again visualize a familiar figure in his trench coat and bulldog countenance, flashing the “V” for victory while standing in the midst of bombed buildings.
General Douglas MacArthur, a five-star general, spoke to a joint session of congress on April 19, 1951, and uttered this powerful statement: “In war, there is no substitute for victory.”
David, the beloved psalm singer of Israel, had grown weary of the long struggle to survive while King Saul hunted him like a wild animal. It had been long ago when he had been called from the fields to come home because a special guest was at his house. He had walked in the house with the fresh scent of the field upon him. The perspiration beaded on his forehead because he had rushed home, and his pink, flushed face spoke of youth and vitality. He was a shepherd but much more than that. He had slain a bear and a lion when his flock was threatened. He was tender and sensitive toward the presence of God and was a talented musician.
Samuel the prophet was at his house to anoint one of the family members as the next king of Israel because God had told him to do just that. Several sons had come before Samuel and had been rejected as the choice of the Lord. David was the only one left, and when Samuel’s piercing eyes looked upon him, the prophet spoke resolutely, “He is the one.”
When the horn of anointing oil was poured upon him, he became a changed young man. The presence of God would continue to move upon him, and he was blessed of God. He didn’t become king of Israel until many years later, but in the meantime he lived the mixed bag of being a hero and a hunted criminal by his own king, Saul.
The years of his life running from Saul were frightful and dangerous. He was near death many times as he was hunted by the jealous king. During his strong, youthful years, he lived in the wilderness much of the time, surrounded by a band of men loyal to him. The pendulum of emotions swung back and forth as he innocently trusted the king at times only to dodge another javelin thrown at him.
One of the sad passages in the Bible is recorded of when David the giant killer gave up on his dream of being king someday and joined himself to the mortal enemies of God’s people, the Philistines. He was thirty years old and was weary from running.
And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand (I Samuel 27:1).
David was on the verge of his becoming king when he prematurely gave up on his dream. I wonder if he still had an old sling somewhere stashed away with which he had killed Goliath on that historic day. What about the sword of Goliath that he had carried on his efforts to elude Saul? He had run from Saul for so long that his faulty memory was distorting his judgment and faith in God. It would not be long before Saul fell in death on Mount Gilboa, but David didn’t know the rest of the story at that time. He was about to experience the fulfillment of Samuel’s prophecy when he quit too soon.
When God gives us promises, He keeps His word to us. We sometimes fail to remember that there are three key elements to receiving a promise from God. First, there is the promise, then there is the indeterminate length of waiting time, and the third part of the equation is the fulfillment of the promise. The length of time in waiting is the variable in which our faith and patience are tested.
Abraham received promises from God regarding his posterity but tired of waiting and had a child named Ishmael by Hagar, which has created problems ever since in the history of man. The child of the bondwoman was not the promised child of Sarah, named Isaac, and the conflict between the two nations still exists today.
I remember an experience I had years ago as a young pastor when God taught me a lesson of patience and faith. I was praying at my church one Sunday afternoon and was frustrated that a certain prayer was not answered as quickly as I wanted to see it happen. I earnestly was praying but, expending my energy, finally became quiet before the Lord. The still, small voice of the Lord spoke to me and said, “Ye have need of patience.” I felt the sting from my lack of faith and patience but told no one about my experience. In service that night, a minister who was helping that evening turned to me from the pulpit and spoke directly to me, saying, “Brother Holman, you need patience.” His words confirmed what I had heard that day from the Lord.
I looked up the verse of Scripture and learned that we should not cast away our confidence but wait patiently upon the Lord to fulfill His promises to us. He will not fail, but in the proper time we will receive the promise. It was about this time that I received a promise from the Lord. I hid it in my heart and shared it with only one or two people. Thirteen or fourteen years went by, and the promise was fulfilled precisely as God had spoken to me. It was a promise that I knew had to be of a divine arrangement to come to pass, and it happened just as I expected it to be fulfilled.
Sometimes we are on the verge of a miracle when we give up and cast away our confidence. It’s always too soon to quit when we know God has assured us of victory. God will finish what He starts.
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).
Answers to prayer are one of the things that often come to mind when preaching about this subject. We approach God in prayer with a burdened heart and are assured in the Spirit of the delivery of our answers. We ask in faith according to His will and in accordance with the Word of God; thus, we know that we are on a solid foundation. The thing we must do then is cling to the promise and wait patiently until the fulfillment of that promise. The enemy would have us cast away our confidence and give up, but we have learned to wait patiently upon the Lord.
As a young man in Ohio, I knew a mother in one of our churches who had a large family of children whom she wanted to see saved. She lived for God faithfully for years while believing God that her many sons would turn to God. Her faithful intercession stretched into years with no visible evidence until a spiritual breakthrough suddenly came to pass. In a short time, many of them turned to God, and on one Sunday afternoon fifty-three members of her family were baptized. It was the largest baptismal service on record in Ohio at that time. Since that time, her legacy has grown to include hundreds of her family members living for God. Her children and grandchildren have served in many capacities in the United Pentecostal Church, including the general board, foreign missions, pastors, and other ministries. It all began with a mother who went to the altar and clung to a promise faithfully.
It has been said that the darkest time of the night is just before the dawn of a new day. The darkest time for us is often when we feel that we are far from receiving our promises, but we may be on the verge of a new dawn with the light just about to shine upon us.
Job grew weary of the long night and cried: When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and, fro unto the dawning of the day (Job 7:4).
We have a promise from the Lord that is an answer to that age-old question.
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
It’s been a long night, but morning is on its way. We don’t give trophies to those who waited but gave up just before victory came. There is something about the statement, “I quit,” or “I give up,” that grates on most of us. The old song says, “Defeat is one word I don’t use. . . . I have too much to gain to lose.”
We are in a spiritual war. The violent take the kingdom by force, and the way is uphill for much of this pilgrimage. Spiritual victories come with a price tag attached. Courage, fortitude, and perseverance are necessary in this war. It’s too soon to quit.
I knew a young man who was called to the ministry but while attending the University of Texas in Austin was gunned down and nearly killed by a sniper in a tower on campus. He lay bleeding until paramedics were able to get him into an ambulance to get him to a hospital before it would be too late. His oilfield father had arrived by that time and accompanied him on the ride to the hospital. The medical staff told his father to keep him conscious somehow for the few minutes while en route to the facility.
The young man kept drifting into unconsciousness, and he would feel a big fist slap him hard in the face to keep him awake. This happened repeatedly, but it kept him somewhat conscious. After surgery, the young man awakened to find his face swollen badly from the multiple blows to his face. His father looked at him and said, “Son, I didn’t mean to hurt you, but you have to live and preach the gospel.” The father refused to let his son die in the ambulance.
The large gold strike that came to Colorado in the 1800s came after a prospector had given up a mere three feet from the mother lode in his portion of the mountain. He walked away, thirty-six inches from wealth when he quit too soon.
There is a wealth of spiritual treasures waiting to be plucked from the branches of promises of God if we patiently wait for the harvest to be ripened in His own time. We must not cast away our confidence but trust in His sovereign will to fulfill His promises. Jesus never fails. He is on time, every time.
Jesus gave us a parable that illustrates the truth of not quitting too soon.
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (Luke 18:1).
There is a correlation between the lack of prayer and fainting on the journey. The widow tormented the unjust judge repeatedly until the request was granted. The Lord used an extreme example of a mean man and a desperate woman to illustrate a vital truth. However, we know our God is tender, kind, and compassionate and will answer in the proper time according to His divine will and purpose.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
Our confidence in God has a great recompense of reward for us. We may be on the verge of the greatest revival in our church that we have ever experienced. The unsaved loved ones we have prayed for and wept over while calling their names in intercessory prayer may be days away from an altar of repentance. Victories promised by God long ago are on the horizon. We have been patiently waiting for the promise. It’s always too soon to quit.
This article “It’s Too Soon to Quit” by Denzil Holman was excerpted from the book Hot Coals from the Altar. It may be used for study & research purposes only.