Teacher cleaning chalkboard with dusterI met one of my seminary profs from Regent College a few weeks ago. He was visiting from Canada. He is a senior statesmen in evangelical circles, particularly in the area of spirituality. Over lunch, he reminded us how he embarked on his ‘career’ in spirituality.

He was a geographer by training. He left a prominent position in Oxford University and moved to Vancouver to help start a theological school for the laity. However, for his income, he continued to work as a professor of geography. (He taught some of the earliest Green Peace activists.)

Due to a strange mix of circumstances he found himself without a job. He could no longer practice his chosen vocation – environmental geography – in Vancouver. That was when he decided to pursue spiritual theology in earnest. And ended up as the man who reintroduced spirituality to the evangelical world.

Listening to his story, it reminded me yet again that pivotal moments of our lives often come in the guise of problems and crises.

Think of Joseph, sold off into slavery by his brothers. Think of Moses, fugitive from Egyptian law. Think of the exiles of Judah, sent away into shameful slavery in the land of the Chaldeans; they turned out to be the “good figs” (Jeremiah 24) who were restored by God. Think of the Cross – humankind’s darkest moment – humankind”s brightest hope.

Life is kinda tricky isn”t it? Just when we are ready to throw in the towel we find that God has a few more moves up his sleeve.

Coming to embrace this remarkable truth has impacted my life in a number of ways.

Now, when I counsel people in crisis, I feel for their pain and understand their despair. But I also bring into the situation a certain expectancy. Hmmm…. what is God up to here? Things look bleak now, but what will the last chapter of this soul’s life look like?

I also look at my own life a little differently now. The last few chapters of my life have been all pathos. But I am slowly coming to believe in my heart, what the Lord revealed to me some time ago – that my story is not over yet.

What about you? Going through a rough patch? Experiencing an “obvious” failure?