Hebrews 10:25 NIV
“25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

I remember way back in school when a fellow student would start to work on her homework and, after ten minutes or so, she would slam her papers down, stomp on the floor and yell out:”I quit! I quit! This is just too hard.” That seemed to be her mantra for life about many things, so she just barely graduated from high school. She was smart enough to have done above average work; we could tell that outside of class. She was unusually good at acting so she had various parts in school plays and I never heard her say “I quit!” when she was learning her parts.

Years ago, I tried to teach a young person how to pick out melodies on the piano. She was so impatient that I told her I couldn’t teach her if she was going to let herself be unteachable. My sister, on the other hand, was very patient about learning music from me because she was a good learner; open to instruction; open to correction; open to sharing music with me and others.

And then there was me. In first grade I had the worst time in my life-long battle with math, or, as we called it back then, arithmetic. I called it “arithmet ICK” as “Ick” and “icky” were popular kid terms back then. I was often in tears. On occasion I had to stay after school and when my classmates left–all of them–I felt so punished. My teacher did not have skills in helping struggling kids. She did not talk to me kindly and patiently or have me work on just a few problems at a time, so I felt totally overwhelmed and like I was no good.

In my freshman year in high school, I took refresher math because I had continued to do poorly in math all the way through school.

My senior year, imagine the surprise of all of us involved when I not only liked, but did quite well in geometry! There was some artistry in geometry, so my sense of creativity aided me. I also had a new teacher–new for me–and although he occasionally yelled at other students, he was patient with me. I think he was so surprised at my catching on that he decided to be encouraging, for a change. I sure wish I had been encouraged earlier in my life when it came to numbers.

I’ve been trying to do Skype with someone in the UK; a young person. He tries for a few minutes and then emails me about how I’ll have to get someone else to help me figure out Skype. Since he is able to do Skype, I am wondering why *he* can’t be the one to help me instead of giving up so easily.

Then we tried to send an Amazon code through email and the codes were only good for ten minutes. Again, we tried this only twice and he gave up, saying there was too much of a time factor.

I did ask him why we couldn’t text each other or call on the phone. The phone? What is that? he acted like. He didn’t want to be bothered calling and talking to an older lady and maybe figuring things out; no, it was easier just to give up.

I know some people give up too easily when first learning to pray or in reading the Bible. If something seems one bit difficult, they snap the Bible shut and slap it down on the table and that’s it. It’s like some people think “I don’t get it, so it doesn’t matter.” That seems to me to be quite defeatist.

There have been times when I, as a blind person with multiple disabilities, have wanted to throw in the towel. However, I am way too stubborn for that. I don’t like it when someone thinks I can’t do something, so I will not give up easily when a challenge presents itself.

I wanted to learn the braille slate when I was in second grade. We had learned to use braille writers, where you can punch several keys at a time for the letters, numbers and punctuation. On the slate, you punch one dot at a time which seems a little tedious in comparison, but the slate and stylus are much easier to carry around with you.

So my second grade teacher, the same one I had in kindergarten, who was an excellent teacher, did not say no. She said I could stay after school when the fourth-graders came in for their lesson and if I could keep up with them, I could stay in the class. So I did!

In fifth grade, we made story books and we could not get the covers of our books into the braille writer to braille the title. We needed a braille slate. So guess who helped her classmates, only one of whom had learned the slate and stylus. This was because she came from a different school for the blind where they taught it to all the braille students.

I don’t know how many times in my adulthood I’ve been told I couldn’t do a thing when I knew good and well that I could. All I needed were the opportunity to do it, and the interesting process of brainstorming with a cooperative person to do it. I learned crochet this way. My mom held her crochet hook a certain way that sighted crocheters do. I was having difficulty dropping stitches and not finding loops I wanted to hook into. The idea of giving up did not occur to either of us. Eventually I started holding my crochet hook “the wrong way” as a lady told me once. However, now I could feel what I was doing with the yarn and I could follow my work with my fingers. No longer was I just thrusting the hook out there, hoping it would go where I wanted and often did not. Now I could manage crocheting just fine.

Before my freshman year at the university, when my mom and I met with my college advisors, we talked about which classes I would take my first year. Then, before I knew it, the two men went into the next room where they thought my mom and I couldn’t hear them. We both were dumbfounded when we heard one advisor say to the other “Let her take whatever she wants. Let her have her year.” I wanted to flaunt my Phi Beta Kappa key in front of them several years later, but I refrained.

During my years at the university and in my employment as a reservation agent, I noticed tremendous turnover. So many people, when faced with difficulties, just gave up and quit.

I am glad I chose to hang in there on many situations in my life. Some call it stubbornness; some call it determination.

Then there is Jesus. Some say He makes it easy to communicate with. Some say He tells them exactly what to do. That’s nice. I haven’t found our relationship all that easy at times. He answers my prayers when He wants to and gives me direction when he wants to and sometimes I just have to wait. Some people give up on Him. Not me! I am determined to see Him through. So He’s on a different schedule from me. Sometimes He has had to wait for me to come around about things, and He has been patient. He had to wait for many years, in fact, before I was willing and ready to be Born Again.

He has never given up on me. He wouldn’t rescue me to give up on me. I am so glad for His example of not giving up. This is such encouragement for me.

The same can be for you. If you have felt like giving up on Jesus, just hang in there with Him. There can be such a rewarding, joyful, peaceful, loving relationship that one could miss if they gave up too easily. So, as we used to say in the 1960’s, “keep on keeping on!” I want to say that giving up is not an option;not for me anyway. I hope you are determined not to give up too easily, missing out on what is waiting for you when you persist.

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