Giving up is not an option. Not when you have a dream. And the bigger the dream, the longer it is likely to take. Your dream may not be realized for years, even decades; in fact, you may never see it yourself. But giving up is still not an option.
Joshua was 40 years old when tapped by Moses to be his assistant. When they marched out of Egypt, he had every reason to believe that his dream of freedom in the Promised Land would be fulfilled in a matter of months. When he, Caleb, and ten other leaders of Israel spied out the land, he and Caleb saw the future where the others saw only the obstacles. In spite of his faith and enthusiasm, their unbelief carried the day and postponed his dream by 40 years. Finally, they crossed the Jordan. A cursory reading of the text gives the impression that once in the land, the conquest was almost instantaneous, but when Caleb made his request for the inheritance he had been promised, when he spoke of the 40 years in the wilderness, he added the amount of time it had taken to conquer the land.
"And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the LORD spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old" (Joshua 14:10). Not only the 40 years in the wilderness, but an additional five years of conquest. I don't know too many people who had to wait till they were eighty-five to realize their dream.
This evening I attended a book signing of a friend who recently published his first full-length western novel. During the course of the evening, he read excerpts from his book and talked a bit about the process of writing it, mentioning along the way how patient his sons had been when he was squirreled away with paper and pen. Don is in his seventies; it's been awhile since children graced their household. So I asked how long his book has been in process.
"Louis L'Amour was my mentor. When he pictured a stream meandering through a valley surrounded by hills and forests, he was talking about places he had been,and if you were to go there, you would actually see what he described. L'Amour died in 1988, and I wanted to write a tribute to him." Don's dream has taken nearly thirty years, but I hold in my hands a signed copy of the realization of that dream. It took a lot of hard work, but he didn't quit.
Neither did Jesus Christ. He had every opportunity to give up, take a shortcut, quit, but instead, he followed the course laid out for him even when it led to a cross. No, quitting is not an option. We may not feel like keeping the faith, but giving up is out of the question. I have read my friend's book; it is very good, with an engaging plot, vivid descriptions, and plenty of action. I'm glad he didn't quit. I'm even more grateful that Jesus didn't quit. I don't plan to, either.