It had been a nasty June and a worse July in Zurich in the year of our Lord, 1531. The heat was oppressive and the populace was restless. Zwingli’s reforms were well entrenched but there was an air of misgiving lingering in the air. Something bad was afoot and Zwingli was already experiencing a bout of depression (though rare, they were profound and severe when they did occur). The firmly Catholic Cantons were still refusing to ‘see the light’ and it was more than he could bear.
So when he appeared before the Council at the end of July he had tears in his eyes and told the Council that he was set and prepared to resign on the spot if they felt another could better serve the cause of Christ. For 11 years he had preached the Gospel to the city and its environs and though sure it would triumph in every corner of the land, distressed that it had not yet.
Afterwards, a delegation of the most important leaders of the City persuaded him to withdraw his resignation. None of them could know, of course, that Zwingli would be dead within 3 months and a week. He wanted to resign and wasn’t allowed to. Divine Providence had other plans for him.
Yet certainly any and every Pastor who has felt the sting of ministerial impotence knows exactly the sense which overwhelmed Zwingli. We’ve all been overwhelmed that way and desired to resign rather than endure. But Divine Providence has other plans for us as well.