Saturday, 16 June 2012

God Makes Kings...and Queens, too!

With Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations still fresh in our memories, I'd like to share something that you probably won't find in the normal history books about the so-called 'chance of history' that brought Elizabeth to the throne. Until she was 10 years old or so, young Elizabeth was not directly in-line to the throne of England.
Queen Elizabeth II
Many of you would've probably watched the movie The King's Speech. It tells the story of how it all came about very well (its a very good movie by the way, except for some course language used and some swearing in some scenes - which could be muted while watching). Another good rendering of the story (covering it from beginning to end) is found in the movie Bertie and Elizabeth.  

Here, though, is a brief overview of the story:
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
(Queen Elizabeth's Parents)
In the early 1930s, just before the outbreak of World War II, England passed through a very significant crisis. In many ways, it was at a crossroads. The choices made would have indirect, but very significant consequences for England, the Empire, and perhaps the rest of the free world. 

After King George V (Queen Elisabeth II's grandfather) died, his eldest son, David, became King Edward VIII. His reign would be very brief, however,  because of his own ungodly choices. He insisted on marrying the twice-divorced-American woman, Mrs. Wallace Simpson.  
Edward VIII
According to the laws of the Church of England, this was not possible since the reigning monarch is considered the head of the Church of England and the Defender of the faith. (Ironically, all this started from the English Reformation of King Henry VIII!). 

Well, King Edward VIII was given a choice by Parliament and the government. Either to forget about Wallace Simpson and stay king or insist on marrying her and abdicate! 

No monarch ever abdicated before in the entire history of the British monarchy. Edward VIII made his choice and abdicated. The first ever to do so.

With this done, his younger brother, Albert, suddenly found himself on the throne of England and his daughter, Elizabeth, next in-line. This was a total shock to everyone and most especially, to Albert, who became King George VI (Queen Elizabeth II's father).
King George VI
Hollywood and the media was taken by storm with this story. Many thought it as absolutely fairy-tale-like romance...a king giving up his kingdom for the woman he loved... 

But as time went on and darkness fell over Europe and the world, people's perspectives changed dramatically. 

For it was not long after George VI's coronation, that Hitler began his blitzkrieg of Europe. Britain declared war on Germany and was now in great danger. Britain needed a leader, a source of inspiration for the nation. 

Well, here comes one of things that have fascinated me very much. You may even see a little glimpse of what I see as some of God's sense of humour in it too. 

In the leadership of the Axis powers, especially as seen in Hitler, amazing eloquence and charisma was wielded by its tyrants. From the surviving archival footage, one cannot but be amazed at the hypnotic-charisma of Hitler as he rallied Germans with his speeches in those large Nazi rallies. 

We would think that God would raise a leader in Britain with similarly eloquent qualities to counteract this dark evil descending over Europe. 

Not so. God choose two leaders for Britain who had speech impairments, Winston Churchill and King George VI!! 

Their speeches were not as charismatic as Hitler's but through them they rallied Britain (and later the rest of the free world) to the cause of freedom and good. See the King's Speech.

On Victory In Europe Day (VE Day)
Left to Right: Princess Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, King George VI, and Princess

King George VI's deep sense of duty and commitment to his people and the land of Great Britain was a major source of encouragement for everyone. He and his family became deeply involved with the sufferings of the people of Britain during the Blitz. They helped raised the moral of the people. 

Most came to believe that if Edward VIII, with his selfish ways and lack of any sense of duty to his people, would have made Britain really vulnerable. Not only that, he and Mrs. Simpson were sympathetic to the Nazis. If Britain had fallen to Hitler....well, history would have turned out quite differently...oh, but there are no 'ifs' in God's world, as one Godly Christian once said. Everything is ordained by His eternal wisdom and knowledge. 

Here, at last, I come to the part you will NOT find in the history books. 

You see, this did not just happen. God moved his people to pray during the crises of Edward VIII's abdication and He answered their prayers. 

One of those intercessors was the man of God, Rees Howells, from Wales who started the Bible College in Swansea. 

Here is what went on behind the scenes and newspaper reports, as told by Norman Grubb (someone who was there at the college at the time - the same one who wrote the biography of C.T. Studd by the way):

In 1936, there came the serious national crisis over King Edward VIII and his proposed marriage. In this again the Lord led the College to take a stand in prayer. The diaries of the daily meetings give the following account: 
December 4. "The News about the King has come to light in the morning papers, and the Director [Rees Howells, the founder] tells us how serious conditions are. We came back in the evening and pleaded with the Lord to guide the king, and give wisdom and discernment to all those concerned in this crisis."
December 5. "Day of prayer in College. Situation in England very grave, because it concerns not only our land, but the British Empire."
December 6. "Day of prayer and fasting in the College. We pray for the Empire in its present crisis. The Lord reveals that it is His will for Edward to abdicate. Mr. Howells was as strong as a lion in the fight, and declared, 'Edward is not to reign, or the Lord has not spoken by me.' There is a wonderful victory as we believe in the evening."
December 7. "There is thanksgiving over the victory of yesterday. The papers reveal that while at the end of last week the king was challenging the position, now he is anxious to do only what will be best for the Empire." 
December 9. "Believing for the Lord to help King Edward to make decision according to God's will, and that his soul may be blessed." 
December 10. "Came bake at 2.20 p.m. to ask the Lord to control the country, now that the news of the abdication of King Edward VIII is known."
December 11. "We are thankful for this believing of the Holy Spirit. The Lord has saved the Empire, and raised the standard of life in our beloved land."

Norman Grubb, Rees Howells Intercessor: The Welsh Coal Miner a Prince with God, Pennsylvania, USA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1980, pp. 215-216 

Isn't our God amazing! What I saw in this story is God's amazing Providence. People sometimes wonder where was God in all this darkness of World War II? Well, this is one glimpse. He prepares the way and involves His people in it, too. 
Queen Elizabeth II
Yes, God makes Kings...and Queens, well as Presidents, Prime Ministers, and all other rulers. Now some are Satan's choice, but that never catches God off-guard. He uses even these for His glorious purposes and for the good of His people. We must believe this. 

This story also encourages us and shows us the responsibility we have to pray in order to have Godly rulers. He guides our prayers and He answers them. 

One last thought before closing this very lengthy post. This story keenly reminds me of these verses: 

'He hath shewed strength with his arm; he scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.' (Luke 1:51-52)

'Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing...All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity...It is he...that bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity...' (Isaiah 40: 15, 17, 22, 23)

Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, The King's Speech: How One Man Saved The British Monarchy, New York: Sterling, 2012

Norman Grubb, Rees Howells Intercessor: The Welsh Coal Miner a Prince with God, Pennsylvania, USA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1980, pp. 215-216 


Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

Beautiful post Sarah thanks so very much for sharing it with the recent Diamond Jubilee we have heard much of this and the two movies as you shared - did not know the bit by Norman Grubb but knew who he was very very interesting...did you see my photos of the queen and celebrations on this post?

thanks so much for sharing,
love Shaz.xx

Sarah said...

Hi Shaz, I'm glad this has blessed you. It is a very interesting story.
The bit from Norman Grubb is quite fact his entire book on Rees Howels is special...quite challenging spiritually actually. It should bless you I believe.

Yes, I did see the Jubilee photos you've posted. (I've already commented on the post.)
I loved the one with the Queen enjoying the fly-by....such bliss on her face! Where did you find this photo?

Abbie said...

It was wonderful to read your post Sarah and be reminded again of God's goodness and provision through out history! I have to remember these thoughts when it's hard to see how God is working through my own life-He always has a purpose and plan even though it may take time to see it! Thanks for sharing!
God bless! Abbie x

Sarah said...

Hi Abbie,
Yes, this story is indeed a good encouragement for our own lives, too. Our heavenly father works all things for our good even we don't see it. I'm glad this post has blessed you and thanks much for your encouragement.
God bless,

Joy said...

Hi Sarah, this is a lovely, inspiring post. God's ways are amazing, even when we can't see it. May we always trust Him in everything.

God bless, your loving little sis,

Caitlin M said...

Wow! So cool how God worked that out! I didn't know that, especially the part about Rees Howells praying. Thanks for sharing!

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