Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5b (NLT)
I recently read the book Churchill, a long biographical essay on the celebrated British leader by historian Paul Johnson. Other than my passing knowledge of Churchill’s role in rallying Britain to victory in World War II, I had very little specific knowledge of his life and background and I found the book a fascinating read.
One of the many things I learned in the book was how much of Churchill’s life was framed by loss and defeat. Churchill suffered critical political setbacks that would have ruined most men. He was criticized, diminished, and made a scapegoat. As Adolph Hitler rose to power and built the Nazi war machine, Churchill became a lone voice in the wilderness to the loud pacifist ideals of the day. He never gave up, however, and when the fate of the nation hung in the balance he became the one man with enough “blood, toil, tears, and sweat” to save the nation and, in so doing, the world from Nazi horrors.
I shouldn’t be surprised. Most great leaders suffer and overcome loss. God’s Message speaks again and again of the necessity of trials and suffering to produce endurance which produces character which in turn produces hope. I look back at my own journey and can see clearly how the most difficult stretches became the most critical in the process of spiritual transformation.
Today, I’m once again reminded to embrace the grief, loss and difficulties that come my way in anticipation of the joy which inevitably follows.