Sunday, June 27th, 2010...4:42 pm

Sovereign, Surprising Seasons

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I have been watching a documentary on the life of Winston Churchill, lent to me by a fellow Churchill admirer, Randy Hurst. We both agree that Churchill may have been one of the greatest political figures of the 20th century.

After a decade of political exile during which his warns about the rising threat in Germany were largely laughed at, Churchill experienced a kind of “resurrection” from political death and became Prime Minister of England shortly after the onset of World War II. When he took office he said that he felt:

“. . . as if I were walking with Destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial. Eleven years in the political wilderness had freed me from ordinary party antagonisms. . . Therefore, although impatient for the morning, I slept soundly and had no need for cheering dreams.”

The seasons of Churchill’s life, ironically, read something like the three 40-year seasons of Moses’ life: success, wilderness, significance. This is true of many leaders. Early success sometimes leads to barren years of either obscurity or frustration, followed by the accomplishments that person is most remembered for. It is, indeed, like a life “death” resurrection rhythm.

Churchill noted that the seasons that had preceded him becoming prime minister had been “but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.” At 80 years of age this was certainly true of Moses. I like how Bernard Ramm put it “in Egypt Moses earned his bachelor’s degree in public administration and in Midian he got his master’s degree in desert survival. Now he was ready to take on the real reason for which he had been born.

The rhythm and nature of the preparatory seasons in our lives are the result of God’s sovereign intention. Often they involve “sovereign surprises” that don’t always fit into our 5-year plans, or our 50-year plans for that matter. The important thing is to not resist or resent the seasons, but to let each season drive us deeper, knowing that God is in the process of preparing us to go wider.

The seasons of our lives can either ruin us or forge us. But if we trust God with the unknowns of our future and embrace each season for what it can teach us, God has a way of eventually bringing those seasons full circle. Some seasons may be frustrating, but they are not purposeless. They are all a part, in Churchill’s words, of “walking with destiny.” As Jesus-followers we would say that each season is a part of God’s strategic, sovereign design, preparing us to fulfill the unique calling that is upon each one of our lives.

More on Churchill next week, but for now may this week serve to shape and temper and train you for what God has for you — no matter what life season you are in.

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