Many people define success by status and a hefty bank account. Even Christians fall prey to the belief system of equating material wealth with success. Real success in life covers a broad range, extending beyond monetary and professional achievements, and includes marriage, parenting, service for the Lord, friendship, and above all, God's plan. Real success comes from knowing and living in the center of God's will.
The challenges of success usually become apparent early on, and everyone tries to make sense of it. Young adults discover that the American dream is not a leisurely walk in the park but rather an uphill climb with little or no time to catch their breath. Christians look to Jesus for answers and pray for doors of opportunity to open. But what if time passes and doors remain shut? Trust God's timing for it is always perfect. God may seem slow, but His plans are well worth the wait. He is faithful to keep His promises and will open doors that no man can shut.
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33 NIV)
Looking back in history, the most successful people who ever lived faced numerous failures and adversities prior to achieving success. Winston Churchill, a controversial statesman who led Britain during World War II, lost more elections than any politician in recent British history. Churchill had several professional setbacks, some due to his own misjudgments, and at age forty-one he was forced out of politics. Worried that his political career was over, he became reclusive and learned to paint to relieve depression. But the tough talking, cigar smoking Churchill proved to be a man of remarkable resilience who learned to suffer defeat without becoming embittered. He soon reentered political life, and as an accomplished author he wrote books; however, his political career remained stormy and uneventful. A man of many talents, Churchill was a distinguished orator who gave brilliant and moving speeches, many of which warned of Germany's growing power.
World War II began, and the dark clouds of war moved over Britain. The Germans bombed the tiny island which devastated cities, killed civilians, and almost crushed the British spirit. A ray of sunshine peeked through the clouds when Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Britain at age sixty-five. Churchill shined as a heroic leader with a will to win the war despite the odds. British morale was boosted as he encouraged the troops not to give in against a seemingly invincible enemy. He inspired courage when he walked the streets of war-torn cities flashing the "V" for victory sign, as crowds gathered and cheered. This was Winston Churchill's finest hour.