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Never, Never, Never, Never Give Up

May 4, 2020

Do not let your hearts be troubled.” John 14:1

Sunday is Mother’s Day—a day when we all think about our mothers and when mothers think about their children.  They feel the pain their children feel.  They worry about them. They pray for them, particularly if their children do not turn to the God who guided and comforted them as children.  Like St. Monica centuries ago who prayed for many years for her son, Augustine, they pray that their offspring will turn to God in difficult and challenging times, and that God will comfort them, heal them, and lead them to faith.

Motherhood is full of challenges.  And no one knew this better than Susanna Wesley.  She bore 19 children, 9 of whom died in infancy.  She taught her children at home and brought them up in the faith. Their family home burned down twice.  The family was dogged with financial difficulties her entire adult life.  But despite these problems and others, she wrote: “Help me, Lord, to make a true use of all disappointments and calamities in this life, in such a way that they may unite my heart more closely with thee.”[1]  She was the motivating and sustaining force behind her children, including John Wesley and Charles Wesley.  She was a strong woman who modeled her faith to her children.

Mothers are well advised to heed Churchill’s words in 1941: “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”  His quote is often translated to today’s parlance: “Never, never, never, never give up.” Never give in to despair over your children.  Never stop praying for them. Never give up on them.

This week’s Scripture lessons teach us to never give up on those who are rejected for their beliefs and who reject the righteous.[2]  Jesus prepares his disciples for rejection and what is to come: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14: 1).

Peter reminds us of Psalm 118:22 in teaching how Jesus, the cornerstone, was rejected: “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. . .” (1 Peter 2: 7).  Likewise, Stephen faced many who did not believe, and who persecuted him for his preaching of the gospel. He said to them: “You always resist the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 7: 51).   But he continued teaching and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ crucified, and was stoned to death.  He never gave up on those he was entrusted to nurture.  Paul, then known by his Hebrew name, Saul, witnessed the stoning: “And Saul was there giving approval to his death” (Acts 8: 60b).  Paul, who later became a pillar of the fledgling church, was at that time persecuting Christians. He is a prime example that God can reach out and change anyone—even a murderous enemy.  Keep praying.  Never, never, never, never give up on those you love.

Mother’s Day is a day to remember our own mothers—those who are still with us, and those who have passed on.  It is also a day for thanking God for our families—our spouse, children, and grandchildren.  And it is a reminder that with God nothing is impossible.  Continue to pray for your children. Never, never, never, never give up on those you love.

Prayer: Gracious Father, we thank and praise you for creating the family unit—where parents can love, teach, nurture, guide, and care for their children.  We thank and praise you for the mothers who loved us and never gave up on us.  We thank and praise you for the children you have entrusted to our care—for our own children and grandchildren and for those others that we guide and teach in our extended families, our schools and churches, and in the community at large.  When we are worried and anxious about our children and don’t know how to help them, remind us of Jesus’ words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1).  Keep your protective and guiding hand on our children throughout their lives. Give us the insight and resources to help them—and to never, never, never, give up on them.  Amen

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] Eric Metaxas, 7 Women and the Secret of their Greatness (2015) Nelson Books, pp. 31-57).  This book would make a great Mother’s Day gift.

[2] The Scripture texts for the 5th Sunday after Easter are Acts 6:1-9; 7:2a; 51-60; Psalm 146; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14: 1-14.  Another version of this blog was published on this website in May 2017.

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