Your Finest Hour
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by Frederick Drummond, Sr.
…when he came to himself…
Everyone who ever did anything great speaks of a turning point, something that happened that changed things forever. Some call it their defining moment. I would like to address the importance of this event and how God sets things up in every believer’s life to bring them to a place that eternity will point to as their finest hour. It may be an event that took place in their lives, or the climax of many things that opened their eyes as never before. It might even be the cruel act of someone that God used for good, as in the case of Joseph and his brothers. Joseph said, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day . . .” (Gen. 50:20).
Whatever the case, it divided their lives in two—a past and a future. For Moses it was his encounter with Pharaoh; for David, his anointing by the prophet Samuel; for Joseph, his response to the events that led to his exaltation as prime minister; for Saul of Tarsus, his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. In every one of their lives we see God working in the events that led up to their finest hour, the experience itself and their spiritual responses, and then how they took on a new role and a new life, followed by years of anointed living.
Most of the time, as in the case of Jesus Christ, it doesn’t look very good when it is happening. His crucifixion on the cross of Calvary had all the appearance of failure, and many believed this would be the end of Him and His message. Yet those of us who have read the New Testament know that this was His finest hour. How so? Without the cross there would be no atonement for sin, nor His ensuing resurrection and exaltation to the right hand of God and the commencement of His Kingdom reign. The cross was His defining moment.
In the case of the prodigal son, his defining moment came under completely different circumstances. While Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and went to the cross as the sinless sacrifice for all sin, the prodigal son’s defining moment took place when he was at his worst—overcome by sin, sick, and at the end of himself. He was no longer willing to allow his flesh to run his life.
The parable of the lost son is easier to identify with. His finest hour came as a result of three things which often parallel the human experience before great change: (1) after “the younger son . . . wasted his possessions with prodigal living” (Luke 15:13), (2) and “began to be in want” (v. 14) and humiliation, (3) he realized the folly of the direction his life was taking and was willing to make radical changes, concluding, “I will arise and go to my father. . . . I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (vv. 18,19).
Jesus Christ’s finest hour came when He overcame sin on the cross. The prodigal son’s finest hour was when he overcame sinful living by making one of the hardest decisions anyone can make: “Enough is enough; I am truly through with living this way. I would rather be nothing with God than trying to be somebody without Him.” Of course, we all know that the most important phrase in the parable is “when he came to himself” (v. 17). This is predicated on many things: (1) he realized that the whole affair had been a setup; (2) God had been at work in all things from the beginning; (3) divine restraints had been put on everything; (4) where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; (5) the prodigal son had finally had enough of listening to his flesh; (6) because of a father’s prayer, God was able to give him repentance and faith to the acknowledging of his sin so that he might recover himself from the snare of the devil (2 Tim. 2:21-26).
It takes a lot of doing to grow a servant of God, and we should all be willing participants in the process so that we can have a share in the rewards.
I would like to submit to you that your defining moment might not be when you rise up as a victor, but rather, when you willingly lay your life down as a failure. The underbelly of the tragedy of the cross was full of triumph. Let me get to the point. Before you can be the success you have always dreamed of, you are going to have to honestly face the demons in your basement as well as the angels in your attic. You see, they both exist to bring out the best and worst in you, and in so doing set you up to vote for the good and not the bad, and chase after it for the rest of your life.
I have said for years that we all get to choose how far down we go in life before we are willing to get real enough to face the obstacles that are in our way. One thing is for sure; there is no avoiding them. God loves us all too much not to want anything but the best for us. He will not let you get away with finding a shortcut around the very things He has allowed to come into your life to bring you to your finest hour.
I know this was the case in my own life, because for years I tried the shortcut, and it didn’t work. It took a whole lot to get me to face all my demons and fight my way through to the other side, and until I did so I spent years getting nowhere, no matter how hard I tried. Isn’t it interesting that sincerity isn’t an adequate substitute for total honesty? Sure I was sincere, but far too often at the same time I was justifying myself and my behavior, playing the blame game, making excuses for myself because I couldn’t find an easy way out. Perhaps this is the real problem. Far too often we are willing to do whatever it takes, as long as it is easy! As I have already said, God wants crucifixion and not rehab! There are some things that you are going to have to die to, and postponing doing so will only up the ante and put a higher bounty on your head. It is always best to take the bull by the horns and pay the price when the cost to you and others is least.
It took years, but God has made a new man out of me, because at last I was able to get to the end of my quest, and I have never been happier in all my life. Everything I have ever hoped for in Him is happening all around me right now. But what a terrible price I have had to pay for this, and more importantly, what has it cost my wife, family, and beloved friends? This is the kicker. Selfishness is our number one enemy, and every man and woman of God has had to face this. While I was licking my wounds and feeling sorry for myself, limping along the road to recovery, others were paying. Is this what you want? If so, your turning point will be very costly.
No one gets a free ride. Everyone has a price to pay, and God requires you to pay it in full. I’ll never forget hearing Kathryn Kuhlman say, “You will never know what this anointing has cost me—I tell you, it has cost me everything.” Of course, back then I was a much younger man and I admired her tremendously for her testimony, not knowing how many years it would take me before I would truly be able to say the same thing. I have learned my lesson, but my greatest regret may be vain; I haven’t settled that issue yet, but I wish it could have been accomplished sooner. Nevertheless, God who knows all things is the One who sets up our finest hour.
I know you love God and want to do great things for Him. Thank God for your support system—those people who believe in you and are willing to encourage you along the way. But please don’t make the mistake of thinking for a moment that any of them can go to the cross for you. This is something you are going to have to do all by yourself.
How badly do you want to succeed? Enough to face yourself more honestly than ever before and ’fess up and take care of the stuff that is holding you back? If so, I have good news for you. God will hold your hand through it all and make sure that you are safely brought through to the other side into your promised land.
This is what it is going to take to bring out the greatness in you. And the sooner you ’fess up and honestly face your death, burial and resurrection, the quicker God is going to be able to perform all those marvelous promises He has made to you over the years. He can’t use half-broken vessels. The Kingdom message is wholeness—normal living. And this is something that He is continually at work in our lives to accomplish, from the day we are saved until the day we go home. Yes, I know there will be those who question and cast doubt on your sincerity, but they don’t matter. It is God we serve and not man. He is well able to lift up the brokenhearted and promote you to your place of blessing in the Kingdom. The psalmist said this: “For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another” (Ps. 75:6,7).