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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The King's Speech -- Classic God-At-Work

Ted and I went to see the movie, The King's Speech. The entire movie laid a foundation so that the viewer could understand the historical importance of George VI ascending to the throne of England and making an all important speech on the eve of WW II. The problem was that the man stuttered so badly that he could not even read a simple speech written by another. Thus, His Majesty (Bertie) had to rely on the skill of a "Dr." who had no training or credentials. He was also a stage reject, in spite of the fact that he had all of Shakespeare's plays memorized. In the meantime, Hitler was mesmerizing Germany with long, enchanting rants. One of the most important lines in the movie was when George's daughter asked what Hitler was saying in one of his speeches. George answered, "I don't know, but he seems to be saying it rather well." If Hitler's spies had informed him that the new King of England couldn't even read a speech, he would have laughed and been convinced that fate had arranged for a pathetic loser to lead Britain to its doom. That contrast was pretty much the thrust of the movie.

So many Christians today could roll their eyes and say, "That is so like God!" First of all, He loves to wait until the last minute to come through for us. For example, when Christ's friend Lazarus died, the family expected Jesus to come running in right away to raise him up. They all knew He could do it, so of course He would. But he didn't. He waited four agonizing days to show up, after the body was in the tomb, after it had begun to stink. He waited too long. It was too late. But we know from the story in the Gospel of John (ch. 11) that it wasn't too late because the family, as familiar as they were with Jesus's ability to heal, still underestimated the power of God to re-create the decaying body of Lazarus.

The second frustrating principal by our human standards is that God loves to reveal His strength through our weakness. Paul the Apostle begged God to relieve him of a distressful condition that he would only call "a thorn in the flesh." He wrote, "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'"(2 Cor. 12:9). In the Old Testament the barren wife Hannah endures ridicule and judgment from her husband's other wife. Hannah was barren, but God answered her prayer and gave her a son who became a prophet. That prophet anointed the shepherd boy David to be Israel's second king. Hannah wrote a psalm and put into words a classic principal: "The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away...He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor" (1 Sam. 2:4-8).

Even the writer of the script of the movie had to wait on God's timing. Decades ago he approached the queen, wife of George IV, about writing the story of Lionel and Bertie. She answered, "Not while I'm alive." The chivalrous author agreed to wait. So she died around age 100 and he finally wrote late in life. Very late. But not too late. It was a delightful script, and a delightful way to learn history, and it surely deserved the award it received, best film of the year.