I’ve been reading Don’t Give Up, the newest book by Kyle Idleman. It’s a good book, just like all of Kyle’s books. It’s a hard read…just like all of Kyle’s books. His books are written with such simplicity, yet profoundly deep. His books invite us to not just grasp what he is saying, but to go a step further, to lean in deeper in our relationship with Jesus. Don’t Give Up delivered that same message.
Don’t Give Up compels us to surrender to God, giving up our own will and ideas, and trusting Him with our lives- our troubles, our sicknesses and situations that leave us without hope.
Here’s the thing about all of Kyle Idleman’s books. I can’t just casually read through them. Don’t Give Up is the same, but worse. Worse not in a bad way, but in a way that makes me put the book down so I can meditate on what he is saying. I have to let things sink in. I have to digest what Kyle is saying in bite-sized pieces.
Every time I read a book by Kyle Idleman, it’s always the same. His writing is conversational, just like you’re sitting across a table from him, eating a bowl of Apple Jack’s, but the impact lingers.
Don’t Give Up is timely for me. It speaks to me in a very personal way.
I want to share part of a post I wrote when I first began to read Don’t Give Up:
Kyle Idleman has an uncanny way of writing a book that reads like your life. He has a way of putting into words exactly what is going on in your marriage, your family, your job… in your mind. And he dispels any misconceptions you may have with the Word of God.
Speaking of Abraham Kyle writes: “He’s holding on to God’s promise, and he keeps right on believing even when the story doesn’t make sense”.
I had to put the book down and walk away when I read that line: “When the story doesn’t make sense”.
Earlier, in the book Don’t Give Up, Kyle asks the reader a question. He asks if we have faith. He wrote, “Don’t just tell me you have faith. Tell me a story”. Because, he said in the book, faith always has a story.
I’m stuck here, really. I’m seriously talking to myself…out loud… ”You want me to tell you a story? A story of faith? Oh, I have a few but the one that comes most vividly to mind, is the one I’m living now. Even when the story doesn’t make sense.”
Are you living a story that doesn’t make sense? Are you believing God to do something mighty but you’re not even sure what that would look like? You’re not even sure how to pray? Because from EVERY human possibility, it looks impossible. Every way you play it out, it doesn’t make sense. There is no way to rewrite the story you are living. There is no way to spin it to make it fit, to make it okay, to make it right.
It looks hopeless.
It looks like it’s too late.
There’s nothing humanly possible to be done. And even if there was, you wouldn’t know it if you saw it because it truly is that unfathomable.
“Maybe this book isn’t for me” you might be saying. “Maybe that message, the one about not giving up, is for other people. Normal people with normal lives, normal marriages, normal families.”
When the story doesn’t make sense.
I kept hearing these words today while I was working…” But then God.”
And then I got home and once again began to read Don’t Give Up. That’s when I put these two statements together: He’s (Abraham) holding on to God’s promise, and he keeps right on believing even when the story doesn’t make sense” But then God.
Right there is where I choose to park. Right in between those two lines; “When the story doesn’t make sense”, and “But then God”. Right smack in the middle.
And maybe that’s all any of us can do when we are living a story that doesn’t make sense.
That takes faith. Even if you don’t know what you are believing God for.
When the story doesn’t make sense, but then God.
Don’t Give Up is all about hope in God. Hope for a future that is better than the situation you find yourself in at any given moment.
Don’t Give Up is about holding on to God and doing the next thing while you wait, pray, trust. If you find yourself in a life-crushing situation, grab a copy of Don’t Give Up and let it feed your faith. Let it give you hope.
Just don’t give up.