Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God. Psalm 43:5
School children learn of the bravery of Captain James Lawrence. During the War of 1812 he commanded the frigate Chesapeake in a sea battle with the English ship Shannon. While he, mortally wounded, was being carried below, he told the men: “Don’t give up the ship.” This has become the slogan of the U.S. Navy.
The spirit of persistence, supported by a strong sense of loyalty and devotion, comes from our spiritual lives. In fact, it has its roots in the Christian faith. “Don’t give up!” is written in large letters in the message of the Bible. When the situation seems hopeless, many people are ready to throw in the towel. The psalmist admitted that he was downcast and disturbed. But he rallied his faith and declared: “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 43:5).
In the face of so many temptations from without, to say nothing of personal weakness within, it is easy to take the way which is usually the way of sin. But Saint Paul encourages us not to yield to evil, but to “offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life” (Romans 6:13). Jesus brought us to life by sacrificing His own life to redeem us from sin and to get us started in the new life in Him. It would be a great mistake to give up what Jesus provides, as people do when they surrender to sin.
The easy road is not usually the right one. Our Savior tells us “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction. … But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life” (Matthew 7:13-14). The hard road of suffering led to Jesus’ resurrection and to life for us.
Victory comes to those who stand firm and fast, trusting in God, as did the psalmist. When the little craft that is your life is greatly threatened, take to heart the captain’s words: “Don’t give up the ship!” Keep fighting!
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, help me to resist temptation and to choose what is right and good. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)