We all feel tempted to quit sometimes. Whether they are related to relationships, parenting, or work, there are moments in life when we simply want to throw up our arms in frustration and give up. And, sometimes, we want to blame God. After all, God allowed circumstances to be so hard. Obviously, God doesn’t want us to accomplish whatever it is we are trying to accomplish. Otherwise, the road wouldn’t be so full of potholes and mountains.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the premiere performance of “Present Company Excluded,” a play written by Doug Foresta. Based on the life of Herbert Roth, it tells of a young Jewish boy living in Roth, Germany in the years leading up to World War II. As Roth prepares for his Bar Mitzvah, he questions everything about God. Why doesn’t God talk to him the way he talked to Abraham? Why did God allow his mother to die? Why is God allowing his father’s business to fail and his friends to ignore him simply because they are Jewish?
Towards the end of the play, his step-mother, who Roth wants nothing to do with, is encouraging him to come with her to apply for a visa to leave Germany and go to America. His father has already failed in this task and Roth sees no point to trying again. He has resigned himself to his fate and feels that God is keeping them in Germany. His step-mother tells him that they have to keep trying, because “If you quit, you can’t blame God.”
There is a great deal of truth to that statement. Indeed, it can be very difficult to discern what God wants from us in life. There are certainly times when it seems every door is being slammed against us. It seems that there is no point in continuing and that God must want us to take a different path. Sometimes, He does.
But if that is the case, then the window will open. Other opportunities and circumstances will come our way. If we continue to pray, however, and trust that God is with us, and no other paths open up to us, then we have no reason to quit the road we are on. Yes, it may seem impossibly hard and the outcome uncertain, but we need to keep trying. We need to keep getting up every morning and do our best and leave the rest to God.
God is the one ultimately in charge. I love the statement by Blessed Mother Teresa, “God doesn’t call us to be successful, only faithful.” Our success or failure is determined only by God. He has His reasons for having us on the road we are on. The roadblocks, too, are there for a reason. Although, often it is only in looking back that we can appreciate them. As Roth stated in the play, his mother dying led to his hated step-mother joining the family. She would be the person who would ultimately save all of their lives. God does work in mysterious ways.
Yes, circumstances are hard. But, if we quit, we need to own it. If we stop trying, we can’t blame God and say that it is His fault that things didn’t work out.
Copyright 2011 Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur