God Shines in the Darkest Hour

by Doug Rehberg

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

The Darkest Hour is arguably one of the finest movies Hollywood has released in the past few years. Rather than being a piece of fiction, it’s right out of the history books. And it underscores the truth that if Winston Churchill had not been elected Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1940, and he hadn’t exerted his considerable leadership in the war against Nazi Germany, the world might look vastly different than it does today. The movie brings this out in vivid hues.

In May of 1940 the Nazi blitzkriegs of Holland, Belgium, and France stunned the world. In less than a week Hitler’s military had sent the armies of these nations and Great Britain into full retreat. Nearly overnight the Allied armies were in danger of annihilation with the British Expeditionary Force in a panic, retreating to the French coastline and the town of Dunkirk. Over 300,000 British soldiers managed to make it to Dunkirk where the German air force continued its relentless assault of strafing and bombardment. Sunken ships blocked the harbor, making evacuation by the British navy a near impossibility. In the event that the British army was destroyed or captured, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales would have little chance of resisting an invasion by Nazi forces.

It was during this bleak time that Churchill devised a plan that was ridiculed by his military advisors. He called on the owners of privately-owned vessels to make their way across the English Channel and evacuate at least 300,000 soldiers. That was the plan. Defenseless civilians would risk their lives to save the troops.

What the movie director doesn’t tell you is what King George VI of England did on May 23, one day after Churchill’s plan was set in motion. He addressed the nation and called for a National Day of Prayer to be held on Sunday, May 26, and millions responded. Millions of British citizens poured into churches across Great Britain. An incessant line of people encircled Westminster Abbey. And what followed is nothing short of a miracle!

First, within hours, a violent storm hit Dunkirk and its surrounding countryside. The storm was so intense that it grounded the Luftwaffe for more than 24 hours. The resulting cloudbank was so thick across the French coast that the German air force stayed grounded for several additional days.

Second, by Tuesday, May 28, the normally choppy English Channel took on a strange calm. One man described it this way, “A great calm descended on the Channel the like of which hadn’t been seen for a generation, which allowed hundreds of tiny boats to sail across and rescue 335,000 soldiers.”

You can read a far more detailed account of this in an article by David Hay at Key Life: “Delivered from Evil: How England’s Darkest Hour Became Its Finest.”

Some might say that the timing of these weather patterns is coincidental. Others might try to argue that there is absolutely no confluence between Churchill’s order and King George’s appeal. James, the brother of Jesus, would reject both arguments with certainty. As we have already seen in our series, and will continue to see, God means what He says, and does what He says He will do. When we turn to Him in the face of trials and temptations, troubles and pain, He will give to us what we need most—His wisdom. The only question is, “Will we ask for it in faith, with no doubting?”