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Behind the prosperous facade of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />America's culture, is an overwhelming fear among our people. It appears that radical Islam and the human meat-grinder that is atheistic Communism are closing in on world domination. Like Gideon of old who was surrounded by his enemies, we are tempted to cry out, "Where are the miracles of God?"
But just as in biblical times, we can discern the Lord's qualifications for activating His protective miracles in a time of terror. It is no problem for our sovereign God to control the aiming and firing of all weapons (II Chron. 20), the delusion of His enemies (II Kings 7), or control the weather to help His people (Luke 8). The following story is one of innumerable illustrations of His power that should dominate our perspective as we survey the past and ponder the future.
It was 24/7 sheer terror and panic for the mothers of the English Empire in 1940. They had just lost 878,000 of their sons 20 years before in WWI. And now the Nazis were enslaving virtually all of Europe in May and June of 1940. The bloodiest war in history was unfolding before them and again these mothers would have to offer their most precious resource to, as Winston Churchill said, "save Christian civilization."
As the Germans invaded Poland, the English and French were forced to declare war on Germany and the British sent over their army to defend France. On May 1st of 1940, Adolph Hitler's Army launched an all out attack called the Blitzkrieg. Within 2 weeks the Panzer Tank Divisions had reached the English Channel, pouring like a flood through the French and Belgium troops, leaving the British Expeditionary force, over 300,000 men, pinned against the ocean. All the ports had been destroyed and the matchless English Navy was helpless to approach the shallow shoreline for a rescue.
It seemed certain that the flower of Britain's Army would be lost. Prime Minister Winston Churchill said that they would be fortunate to get 20,000 of their men back over the channel before they were destroyed. On May 26th, King George VI declared a National Day of Prayer for deliverance. But as the formerly proud British lay humbly before the Lord that day, a series of events was already unfolding that would change the course of human history.
On May 24, Hitler issued a halt order, keeping his tank divisions from destroying Dunkirk, the last sea port of escape for the Brits. Instead, the Fuehrer, acting irrationally against his generals' advice, chose his air force to finish the annihilation. But just as the planes were taking off, a storm grounded them, giving the British the opportunity to escape to the coast. Then, as the English were trapped on the beach, the ocean was stilled making the violent English Channel like a lake with a cover of fog. This made it possible for an armada of small boats and ships to ferry 335,000 troops from the shallow beaches at Dunkirk. It will forever be known as the Miracle of Dunkirk.
As the allied troops arrived back in England, they were greeted as heroes. All of England knew they had witnessed a miracle. Winston Churchill called it a "miracle of deliverance." In 1943, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rev. Temple, declared "Why has God preserved us? We may, and we must, believe that He, who has preserved our land in a manor so marvelous, has a purpose for us to serve in the preparation for His perfect Kingdom."
Throughout WWII the allies were blessed with remarkable providences. England and America had founded and funded the modern missionary movement. God moved, as He has consistently throughout history from biblical times to today, to defeat those ungodly nations that would attempt to eliminate those nations who would proclaim His liberating Gospel. Contrary to the unbalanced perspective of the numerous secular histories of WWII, most of the English and Americans knew they had seen God's favor in battle after battle. In fact, a war college professor, war historian and Navy Captain told me that until the late 1950's the war colleges were teaching how most of the major sea battles in American history had been determined by God's direction of the weather.
The people of England and America, after their providential victory in the Great War, sensed their burden of destiny and spearheaded the greatest evangelistic missionary thrust in history in the mid 20th Century. The evangelical movement in America exploded in 1946 and overwhelmed the sick and dying liberal churches which had turned their backs on the Bible. And in England, the BBC, the government owned radio and TV Company in Britain, put all of England to bed each night with an evangelical sermon from men like C.S. Lewis, followed by the reading of the Psalms. This continued until 1956. How far we and they have fallen in 50 years!
Since the 1960's, we especially in the English speaking world, have forgotten our mission, as the Miracle of Dunkirk and His other powerful miracles have been forgotten. Abraham Lincoln, in the dark hours of the civil war, clearly saw the only hope for proud and forgetful nations like ours. He said, "But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness."
The great truth that should encourage our hearts is that our personal and national future does not ultimately rest on the government bureaucracy or even on our fine military. Enemies we cannot see are acquiring suitcase nuclear bombs and the Chinese have just shot a satellite out of the sky. Our only sure hope is for the believing Church to end its 50 year love affair with the idol of big government, expecting it to save them and ensure their prosperity. Then, as we bow in humility and obedience before the Lord of the nations, who calmed the English Channel, He may come to our aid.
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