Don’t Give Up by Randy Rowley 5/4/23 ©


On a cold late afternoon on the last day of deer season, I sat in a ground box blind near a creek on a lease near Blanco that I shared with three friends.

To say that it had been a disappointing season was an understatement.  During the summer, the landowner had a barbed wire cross fence built that ran the length of the property.  We didn’t think his fence building would disrupt deer season, but the deer thought otherwise. I’d only seen two deer during my previous hunts there.

A month before that day, a doe came into the corn head-on.  She ate for a couple of minutes, always head-on to my blind.  Rather than wait for her to turn and be presented with a higher percentage shot, I impatiently aimed at her neck and squeezed the trigger of my Remington Model 700 in .25-06.  To my surprise, I didn’t see her fall.  Instead, I watched her bolt and high tail away.  I looked for blood and found none – it was my first clean miss.

A month before that, a doe emerged from the woods near another creek, but the only shot I had was at her rump when I got my crosshairs on her, and she was rapidly walking away.  I passed on that shot.  I also had a flock of turkeys come near me while hunting that stand, but I decided that if I shot, I’d scare any nearby deer away, so I passed on them too.

My hunt on the last day of the season started like all the rest, without even a hint of deer nearby.  As the afternoon waned, so did my hopes.  Soon it started to be dusk.  With an internal sigh, I started putting my binoculars in my backpack.  But I froze when I saw movement.  To my surprise, a buck strolled across the field, around 45 yards past the feeder.  He showed no interest in the corn or in stopping.  I quickly shouldered my rifle, aimed at his neck, and squeezed the trigger.  He dropped like a rock.  Unlike the head-on-neck shot that I missed a month before, this was a side-neck shot – a much larger target.

He was an average-sized buck with six points.  He probably would have been an eight-pointer, but a broken antler prevented me from knowing that.  Blanco County doesn’t have antler restrictions, so I didn’t have to measure his inside spread with my eyes before taking the shot – if we’d been in an antler-restriction county, I’d have had to pass on him.

Thirty minutes later, after I gutted him, I hoisted him into the bed of my truck and happily headed home.

My patience, or stubbornness, had finally been rewarded.  As I drove home, a frequent lesson that had been instilled in me from early childhood by many people entered my mind – ‘don’t give up.’

God also had a few things to say about not giving up and being patient.  He said to Asa in 2 Chronicles 15:7, “‘But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.’” He said to Habakkuk in Habakkuk 2:3 (NLT), “‘This vision is for a future time.  It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.  If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.  It will not be delayed.’” Luke 18:1 says, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” And Galatians 6:9 (NLT) says, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

Author Kenneth Acha said in CALLING VS. VISION: What is the difference? “A vision is a vivid description of how a person’s calling (mission) plays out in part or in whole at a particular time in the future.”

In Christianity, a calling is something God expects us to do (e.g., we are all called to make disciples – see Matthew 28:19-20).  We all have them.  But specific callings or visions (aka dreams) are given to individuals by God (e.g., William Carey’s vision for overseas missions in the late 1700s).  If God has given you a specific calling or a vision to bring glory to him, wait patiently for it to happen, and don’t ever give up doing what he has called you to do!  It will bear fruit if done within his timing, not yours.

Another way to look at the difference between a calling and a vision is that a calling is who we are (e.g., we all are called to be teachers, so we’re teachers), and a vision is what God wants us to do with the gifts he gave us.

God’s timing and ours are not the same.  He looks at things from an eternal perspective and, therefore, isn’t in a hurry.  2 Peter 3:8-9 says, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

In the final months of World War II, Japanese Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda was stationed on Lubang Island, in the Philippines.  Shortly after his arrival, US forces attacked the island.  Onoda’s mission was to kill enemy personnel and destroy the airfield, enemy planes, and a pier by the harbor.  He failed in his mission, and as US forces took control of the island, he and his troops retreated into the jungle.

Soon afterward, the war ended, and leaflets were dropped on Lubang Island and other islands to inform stragglers of Japan’s surrender.  But Onoda and the three remaining servicemen who stood by him dismissed them as fakes.

Search parties tried to find them, but they assumed they were Japanese prisoners being forced to do the US’ bidding.  Eventually, two of the group left, and a third, Kinshichi Kozuka, was killed by local police in October 1972.

Onoda remained alone on the island for another 18 months.  Then he met Japanese explorer Norio Suzuki.  The two talked and reached an agreement – if Suzuki brought Onoda’s commanding officer to Lubang Island and that officer directly ordered him to lay down his arms, he would comply.  Suzuki was successful, and Onoda’s war ended on 3/9/74.  While some might consider Onoda to have extreme patience, his refusal to give up until ordered is commendable.

Also during World War II, on 10/29/41, British prime minister Winston Churchill gave one of his most famous speeches about perseverance at the Harrow School.  He said, “Surely from this period of ten months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.  Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

If God gives you a specific calling or a vision, don’t be discouraged if you don’t see fruit immediately.  Some specific callings and visions take decades, or we won’t see them fulfilled within our lifetimes.  For example, Moses wasn’t allowed to enter the promised land due to his sin – that task fell to Joshua.  And King David wasn’t allowed to build the temple in Jerusalem – that task fell to his son, Solomon.

The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  In verse twelve, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me,” speaks about Paul’s calling and vision.

Whether it’s a commission for all Christians, a specific calling, or a vision, God calls us to keep pressing forward and following the trail he made for us.

Just as I was patient and didn’t give up on that Blanco deer lease, we must also be patient that God will see his plan for us through and never give up pursuing it.

Categories : Devotionals

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Bible Verse of the Day

A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, But the LORD upholds the righteous.