I was at a bookstore the other day and my eyes were drawn to a very interesting quote on a card. It read: “When you are going through hell, keep going.”
At first I smiled as I saw the card. Then I began to think about it, ponder it. Thoughts filled my mind. The quote is attributed to Winston Churchill. Now there is some question whether he actually said this but it doesn’t really matter to me because I can see why it is believed he said it. From the little I know about Churchill and all the challenges he faced as a leader, I could imagine the hell he went through.
Thinking about the quote, I thought, “Hmm, that’s true, if I’m going through hell, why would I want to stay there? Instead of wallowing in a hellish situation or trial, doesn’t it make sense to keep on going! That’s not a destination the that is not appealing at all to me.” Wasn’t the message of that quote the exhortation of Scripture? Didn’t Paul go through hell? What did he do? He pressed on. He kept going.
“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Phil. 3:14
Wasn’t it a huge transition for the Jews to leave their traditions behind to follow Jesus?They experienced the challenges that sin presents just like we do. What was the exhortation to them, keep going? And Jesus went through hell, enduring the cross. He endured and kept going.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Heb. 12:1-2
“When you are going through hell, keep going…” I thought about that all day. I thought about Winston Churchill. I wondered, “What was Churchill’s motivation? What would inspire him to keep going, despite all he encounters, all the weight on his shoulders?” As I pondered that, I found a book, “God and Churchill.” On a whim, I purchased it. Reading the story of this interesting man, I found his motivation.
Churchill had a very memorable conversation with a close friend at the age of 16, about destiny, more specifically, their own. His friend asked, “Will you go into the army?” Churchill replied, “I don’t know. It is probable; but I shall have great adventures soon after I leave here.” As the conversation continued, his friend said quizzically, “You do not seem at all clear about your intentions or desires.” Churchill being Churchill shot back, “That may be but I have a wonderful idea of where I shall be eventually. I have dreams about it.” Then he said something incredible. He shared what I believe became his motivation, what inspired him to keep going. He had a dream, which I would say, was a prophetic dream from the Lord. A dream that would, very soon, come to past.
At the young age of 16, Churchill said of that dream,
“Well, I can see vast changes coming over a now peaceful world; great upheavals, terrible struggles; wars such as one cannot imagine; and I tell you London will be attacked and I shall be very prominent in the defense of London…This country will be subjected somehow, to a tremendous invasion, by what means I do not know, but I tell you I shall be in command of the defenses of London, and I shall save London and England from disaster.”
“Will you be a general, then, in command of the troops?”asked his friend. Churchill continued,
“I don’t know. Dreams of the future are blurred, but the main objective is clear…I repeat–London will be in danger and in the high position I shall occupy, it will fall to me to save the Capitol and save the Empire.”
That was absolutely astounding to me! The incredible dream. Seeing from history the incredible fruition of that dream. The seemingly unsurmountable challenges Churchill faced. That is where that quote finds its origin. “When you are going through hell, keep going…” Winston Churchill went through hell and kept going. An author of another book about Churchill wrote, “Without Churchill the world today would be unrecognizable–dark, impoverished, tortured. … Above all, victory required one man without whom the fight would have been lost at the beginning. It required Winston Churchill.”
Abiding and following Jesus brings all kinds of challenges, sometimes hellish troubles and trials. What will be my motivation to keep going? It must be the same with Churchill, God’s call on my life. Heading into this new decade of my life, I asked God if this could be the most significant, most fruitful, decade of my life. A decade that would bring Him much glory. I sensed God’s affirmation and encouragement. I felt God say, “Yes, it will be. You have and are being prepared. Keep abiding in My Son. And watch what I will do.” That is my motivation. What specifically does that mean? Churchill’s words resonate with me. “I don’t know. Dreams of the future are blurred, but the main objective is clear.” I don’t know but may this next 10 years bring God much glory. May I be so focused and motivated that I can say, “When you are going through hell, keep going.”
another step..going to to keep going!