When You’ve Done All You Can
Apr 27, 2020 2824
You can read all the self-help books you like, you can get advice from all your friends, and you can try and try and try again to deal with a difficult situation. So, what do you do when you’ve done everything you can, and nothing seems to work?
When you have reached your wit’s end and you just need someone to tell you what else you can do, the Bible comes to the rescue with this gem from the apostle Paul:
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (Ephesians 6:13, NIV).
Did you notice? “…after you have done everything… [just] stand.”
You just stand.
You stay on your feet. You hang in there. You don’t take a step back. You get through it. You survive. That’s how you win in the end.
There will be many moments when you can simply decide to give up. In reality, there are a lot of people out there who go through the motions of life, but who have already checked out a long time ago.
If you know someone like that, I’m not here to condemn them. In fact, I can hopefully offer real understanding and empathy… and perhaps hope.
No matter what anyone says, sometimes there is nothing you can do to change the reality of your external world. Sometimes, you really have done everything you can do, but ultimately your external reality depends not only on your decisions, but the choices of others.
When you’ve done all you can, just stand.
The Apostle Paul is a good example of this. By any apparently objective analysis, his external situation was just awful. Paul describes it here:
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. (2 Cor 11:23-27, NIV).
Some people have been through awful things. However it’s likely that it’s been this bad for you! So how can Paul possibly still be standing? He says that it is because he has peace through Jesus Christ because he has been justified by faith. And that’s why he has,
…gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God (Rom 5:2, NIV)
That can be true for you too. No matter what you go through, when you’ve done everything you can, you can still stand on your feet with joy and peace. That’s when you know that you are accepted by God, and nothing can tear you down!