What They Missed...
I know I have written about my little World War II buffs. You can imagine they were eagerly anticipating the release of Dunkirk. I was nervous that it wasn’t going to be a movie I could take them to. That they would throw in some completely unnecessary side story that was inappropriate. To my delight, the reviews came back positive. So, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I took the non-nappers to a rare treat - the movies.
If you are like me, you had no idea what happened at Dunkirk. It wasn’t until we began reading endlessly on WWII, that these events came alive for me. Basically, the Germans had the English army and a majority of their weapons and equipment surrounded in the town of Dunkirk in France. There were also French, Belgian and Dutch soldiers trapped. Right across the English Channel lay safety in England, but how to get the men off the beach to safe shores was problematic. The German army was closing in, their aircraft were bombing the men, and their submarines were wreaking havoc on those vessels that were trying to take the men to safety. In a heroic move, all civilian boats that were able crossed the English Channel and were able to rescue 330,000 of the 400,000 stranded. It truly was miraculous that so many were saved. This occurred May 26, 1940- June 4, 1940.
When we got home from the movie, Johnny ran up to Tate, who stayed home with the nappers, and exclaimed, “Dad, you would have LOVED the movie! There was TONS of sacrifice!” Tate is always talking to the kids about making sacrifices for each other and God. As you can imagine, sometimes it feels as a parent that no one is listening. Tate turned to me and said, “Well at least Johnny is listening!” It was a small bit of needed encouragement to us as parents.
We did really enjoy the movie, but Christopher Nolan, the director, left out one HUGE part of the story out. King George VI, seeing that British defeat was so close at hand, called for a National Day of Prayer to be held on May 26th. In a televised broadcast he encouraged the people to ask God for his help in this most dire of circumstances. The people of England responded. There is a picture of people lined up outside Westminster Abbey waiting to pray. The country literally got down on it’s knees to ask for help. Three miraculous things happened:
Hitler, for reasons still unknown, halted the advance of his armoured columns precisely when he could have annihilated Britain's army. For three days he waited. This gave the Allies precious time necessary for evacuation.
A huge storm broke out over the Germans aircraft preventing them from taking off. This again, allowed the Allies to move to the beach without much interruption from German aircraft.
There was a great, unusual calm that settled over the English Channel which enabled the small sailing vessels of the civilians to cross safely to rescue the soldiers.
These three events together, are nothing short of miraculous. God had heard their prayers.
What a sadness that this was completely left out of the movie. Christopher Nolan had missed the real story, God’s answer to the prayers of England!
Of course, we live in an age where everything has to be explained, people don’t look to see the miracles God works in our very midst. We wonder how those alive during the time of Jesus could have failed to see he was the Messiah despite all the miracles he performed. But would we have had eyes to see and ears to hear? Do we now? When we pray, do we pray with the confidence that God is listening? Do we pray with full confidence that God knows how to answer our prayers better than we do?
These are not easy, quick questions. They require reflection, and speaking for myself, are areas that require spiritual growth.
What are the miracles and gifts God has given us in our lives that we are missing? What do we not have eyes to see and ears to hear? God shows His love for us each and every day. When we have confidence in this and look to see His gifts, we cannot help but be grateful; and gratitude leads to greater love of God and joy in our lives. LOOK for God in your life. See what you have missed. He is there.
Now that you know the rest of the story, you can go see the movie. As Johnny says, “There is TONS of sacrifice!” JMJ
Support a Missionary!
Please consider helping to support Anthony and Elizabeth Cirillo, Xavier University graduates, in their missionary work to help Catholic college students florish in their faith. They are FOCUS missionaries which stands for Fellowship of Catholic University Students. All over the country FOCUS teams work on various college campuses to win the hearts of college students, build them in the faith and send them to the world. (per their website!) This is so important for our children to have these organizations to support and build their faith, when the whole world is trying to pull them away.
Sometimes it feels there is only bad news coming out of colleges. People falling away from their faith, excessive drinking, promiscuity, and on and on. We wonder what can we do to help? Supporting a FOCUS missionary is a wonderful way to do this. These missionaries help lead college students to a true understanding of who God is calling them to be. They lead Bible studies and provide fellowship to cultivate healthy friendships. They are truly the hands and feet of Christ on the campuses they minister to.
We can curse the darkness, or we can light a candle. By helping to support Anthony and Elizabeth in their work we are lighting that candle. Many hands make light work! Please consider supporting them financially or with your prayers. Follow the link below for more information.