Faint, But Not Fainthearted
“Faint, yet pursuing.” Judges 8:4
These three hundred men, though faint, were not faint-hearted. If they had been cowards, they would have left Gideon when he made the proclamation, “Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead.” ...They were men who had given themselves wholly up to this holy war, and who were determined to smite these foes of God and His people; and yet they were faint. They were not faint because they were dispirited, for they had just won a great victory. They had broken the pitchers, and unveiled the lamps, and blown the trumpets, and they had shouted, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon,” and they had seen the vast host of Midian melt away before their eyes. They had plunged with fervor into the battle, chasing the dying foe and laying tens of thousands dead at their feet. Every man among them was a hero; and yet they were faint.
When you see men faint, do not blame them. Peradventure, by their faintness, they have proved of what true stuff they are made. They have done as much as flesh and blood can do, and therefore they are faint. ... Faintness, by itself, is a poor thing; but if you can truly say, “Faint, yet pursuing,” faintness becomes the foil to set off perseverance; and the man is all the nobler because, when faint, he still pursues.
If you, dear brethren and sisters, will give yourselves wholly to God’s work, although you will never get tired of it, you will often get tired in it. If a man has never tired himself with working for God, I should think he never has done any work that was worth doing. If a sister has never spent herself in trying to win souls, I should suppose that the number of souls which she will win will be very few indeed. We can never expect God’s blessing on our work till every faculty of our being is aroused, and the whole of our strength is put forth in the divine service. Now, if this is the case with us, it is no wonder if sometimes we get weary, and feel ready to faint.
They still believed, they still had a brave stomach for the fight, they had not wavered in their resolution, they meant still to go forward, they intended to conquer the enemies of their country before them, or die in the attempt, and not one of them proposed to turn back; they were “faint, yet pursuing.”...; they were still determined to go forward. They did not demand substitutes, saying, “We have done so much; now let somebody else come in, and finish the work.” No, no, they were still pursuing, each man resolved that his own right arm should wield his weapon till the fray was over. Nor did they rest on their laurels...No, but they reckoned that nothing was done while there was anything undone.
Brothers in Christ, is not that our resolve to-night? My Christian sisters, do you not feel the same? We have lifted our hand to the Lord, and we will never go back; we could not give up His truth, His love, His service. To whom should we go if we left our Lord? If we did not keep on still pursuing, what should we do? Lie still, we cannot; there is a something in us which will not let us rest while there is work to be done for God, by which Christ can be glorified.
These men were driven forward by hope. Although they were faint, they felt that He who had brought them so far would bring them through to the end. He had done so much for them ...And so they kept on, hopeful still that they should win a complete victory. They were resolved that, if it were not so, yet still they would keep on. So let it be with us. If I am faint, I will still continue fighting against sin.
Ah, dear friends, to stand bravely for Christ for a week or two, is a simple matter; but to keep on month after month, and year after year, is another affair! It is the length of life that tries the reality of religion...But it is that length of endurance, that year after year of trial, that long fight of affliction, or that long-continued temptation, that tries the man; and it is little wonderful if sometimes the very heroes of the Cross are faint and weary.
...beloved, what child of God, who engages faithfully in the work and warfare of this life, does not at times feel ready to faint? Stand in the position of one who finds himself deserted by those who seemed to be his friends, but who prove faithless, and, without a protest for the truth, glide away in the general current of error. Your heart grows sick as you think of the cowards who ought to have been at your side in the battle for the standard. Your soul is ready to faint as you note the slackness of others whom you do not suspect of going astray, but who, in the day of battle, are like Meroz, and come not up to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Battling for Christ in the midst of the crowd where you want hundreds of helpers, and can scarcely find one, trying to carry the light into some of the dark slums of London, thinking that every Christian will sympathize with you, but finding that none do so, – these are the trials that make even brave hearts feel faint.
Standard-bearer, standard-bearer, I beseech thee, do not faint! Cry to thy God, standard-bearer, for so many depend upon thee! Teacher of a class, minister of a congregation, leader of a clan, stand in the strength of Jehovah Himself, and having done all, stand!
~ Charles Spurgeon
Excerpted from a sermon which can be read in it's entirety here: