Some of you may remember a comedian named Joe E. Brown. Known for his big mouth and great character, he was one of the more popular comedians in the 1930s and ’40s. Joe spent many hours entertaining the troops during World War II and became one of the few civilians to receive the Bronze Star.

Danny Minton

Danny Minton

One day when he was scheduled to entertain a group of soldiers in 1942 he received a telegram. The telegram informed him that his son, Captain Don E. Brown had been killed in a training exercise in Palm Springs. The devastating news broke his heart.

That evening he was on stage entertaining the troops as usual, smile and all. Yet, behind the loud voice, behind the smile, behind the joking eyes was a man in tears, heartbroken at the loss of his son.

There are many times in life that we must “keep on keeping on” when things are not going as smoothly as we would like. There are times we want to quit and move on to a less stressful situation. There are times that it’s hard to control the anger, the frustrations, or the disappointments. There are times when we look fine on the outside but are torn apart on the inside.

No one ever said life would be easy. God never promised a nice easy stroll in our life ahead. He never promised that we wouldn’t get frustrated. He never promised that everything would always go smoothly. In fact, to the contrary, as Jesus told his disciples, following him would be tough, full of hatred, disappointment, and strife.

Satan uses this to discourage Christians. I think when we contemplate quitting because of all the outward pressure, that Satan is there encouraging us to do so, jumping up and down, clapping his hands and saying, “That’s right, quit, move aside, God doesn’t need you, He doesn’t care for you!! If he did, he wouldn’t make you go through all this!”

When we argue, when we hide from life because of discouragement, or when we yearn to give up, I see him pumping his fist and saying, “Yes! Yes!” When we are discouraged, I see him putting an arm around our shoulder and saying, “If I were you, I’d just quit and not worry about all this. It’s not worth it; it’s hurting your health, you should move along and think about yourself, forget what God wants out of you.”

It’s tough to keep going when times are rough, but that’s what those who follow Jesus do. Joe E. Brown continued his act, and the warmth of the applause and smiles on the faces of those he performed before lifted a heavy hurting heart.

If we let the warmth and encouragement of God glow within our hearts, then there is no room for Satan to get a foothold with negativity. If we listen to the whispers of God, it will drown out the obnoxious voice of Satan.

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.“ Romans 16:20

Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ.

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