Sometimes, I'm just doing the best I can: I might be at the end of my rope, but I just try to tie a knot and hold on! Many of us are familiar with a couple of the old sayings about this kind of commitment:

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"

"Quitters never win, and winners never quit."

We talk about this attitude and commitment in terms of perseverance. Webster's Dictionary defines perseverance this way:

continued, patient effort. (It) implies a continuing to do something in spite of difficulties, obstacles etc.

Our church was on a fast, and I noticed something. There were some things that I had been trying to "pressing on through." Then the Lord took care of this situation, and I believe it is because I had prayed about them during our fast. You see I had been persevering, but not praying.

Perseverance is good, but we must not forget to pray about our burdens and struggles. James said to us many years ago: "[Y]ou do not have because you do not ask" (James 4:2 NKJV). God can handle things that we are powerless to change. The disciples had been trying to cast out a demon and were not successful. When they asked Jesus why they couldn't do it and He could, the Lord told them: "This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:21).

When we talk about someone doing things in terms of "his own strength," we are usually referring to a person who is proud and self sufficient. However, this can also apply to those of us who "keep pressing on," but don't ask the Lord to help us with our trial or burden.

Don't despair and don't quit!
If we aren't careful and keep trying to walk in our own strength, we can get in to a defeated, victim mentality when things don't work out. We might think, "Why is all of this happening to me? There's nothing I can do about it! I'm struggling, but I'm just going to keep doing the best I can."

Let's remember that there is something else we can do in our times of struggle and defeat. We can pray and believe that God can and will do what we can't.

If you are in the middle of a tough season and facing a trying time, don't despair and don't quit. You need to persevere, but don't forget to fast and pray, trusting that God can do those things that you can't do. Just watch and see!

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:6-7)