Author and pastor John Maxwell writes of a seminarian who was overwhelmed by his workload. The volumes to read, the research papers to write, the Greek words to learn—it seemed impossible! His despair was obvious to his classmates.

Then an upperclassman put his arm around the young man’s shoulder and said, “Friend, it doesn’t matter how big the rock is; if you just keep pounding, it’s gonna bust.” The student began to see that his tasks were manageable if he took them one at a time. Eventually the “rock” broke. The overwhelmed seminarian graduated and is now a pastor.

Living the Christian life can be like trying to break a rock. We keep pounding but nothing happens. We get discouraged bearing the same burden, resisting the same temptation.

The book of Deuteronomy begins and ends with a message of hope. Moses told the people of Israel, “Do not fear or be discouraged” (1:21). “The Lord . . . will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (31:8). Those words of encouragement apply to us as well.

If your “rock” seems too big, heed the advice of that upperclassman: “Just keep pounding.” If you’re relying on the Lord, eventually “it’s gonna bust.”