Pastor Bob continues his series on God at the Movies by considering the lessons of faith found in the movie “Darkest Hour” One of the beautiful things of examining God at the movies is that we can have eyes to see God at work even in a historically based movie. Please listen to this powerful audio message.
God at the movies is a powerful way to illustrate how God is active and can be seen in our world. The movie “Darkest Hour’ is about a great leader who faced a very difficult moment in history. His name was Winston Churchill. This time in history was a dark hour.
Here is a synopsis of the movie.
A thrilling and inspiring true story begins at the precipice of WWII as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces rolls across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.
It is important that we see God at the center of even the darkest hours. I know God is working even in the dark hours of history and current world events. That same God is working in the dark hours of your life. I want you to understand that ultimately God is in control. I don’t think God is even mentioned in the movie, except in a passing phrase or two. But God was present.
The world was at one of its darkest hours and so God had on the scene this man, Winston Churchhill, to stand up against astounding opposition and odds.
It reminds me of another biblical story, the story of Esther in the bible. Interestingly, you can just about read the entire book of Esther and you don’t really read much about God. Yet as you study the story of Esther, God’s fingerprints were all over that book of the Bible. Esther was an orphan child who wound up becoming the queen of the kingdom of Persia, underneath the reign of a king named Xerxes. There was a man in that kingdom by the name of Haman who was out to destroy all of the Jews. But God raised up Esther to stand against him and be used of God.
If you compare the two stories, Darkest Hour and Esther there are amazing similarities.There was a mad man on the loose. In Esther’s day his name was Haman. In Churchill’s day his name was Hitler. They were both out to destroy the Jews. Both stories reveal to us a sinister evil that was loosed in the world. You can’t read the book of Esther or a history of WWII without realizing that there was real evil at work in the world. Yet, In both stories, the right person was in the right place at the right time.
Some would say that it had to be coincidence. No! It had to be God. What are the possibilities that an orphan girl from a nation in captivity would just happen to become the favored queen of the prince of Persia? That was God. I believe that God put Churchill where he needed to be at the right place at the right time.
Let me give you a Bible foundation for this message.
- EVERYONE OF US WILL FACE DARK HOURS IN OUR LIVES
I realize that there is a hyper faith, hyper Christian unbiblical teaching that tells people that they will never face a dark hour. They have cute phrases like, “I’m blessed above the rest.” Let’s get biblical for a moment. Everybody goes through dark hours. Even the apostle Paul went through dark hours. 2 Corinthians 1:8 Paul the apostle says these powerful words. “ For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.” but that sounds like a really dark hour for the apostle Paul. Even Jesus predicted that his followers would have trouble. He said in John 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation.” Another version says, In the world you have trouble.
Some reading this article will perhaps have faced one of these dark hours.
- Someone you love passes away.
- A marriage breaks up.
- A relationship you had really put hope in is torn apart.
- You feel lonely.
- You get layed off.
- A negative doctor’s report.
- Your kids do something that brings you grief.
- Your secret comes to light- your wife finds you looking inappropriate things or your employer discovers your drug use.
I don’t know what your darkest hour has been or will be. I know in that moment of darkness it may seem like God had abandoned you. But the truth is…God is present in our dark hours. Just like he was present in WWII to defeat Hitler, and in the days Esther, God will be present in your dark hour. No one really knows what God is up to. And the good news is that God can take your darkest hour and turn it into your greatest victory. God can take your deepest personal failure and cause you to rise up out of the ashes with wisdom and insight.
You can see God at the movies because this movie answers the question of whether or not God is present in our darkest hour.
- HOW TO MAKE IT THROUGH YOUR DARKEST HOUR
There are some powerful lessons in this movie and in the word as we learn as we look at Winston Churchill.
- Speak Words of Faith
I am not going to try to tell you that Winston Churchill was a wonderful Christian who did a lot of praying and reading the Bible. I don’t know anything about his personal relationship with God. I cannot tell you where Winston Churchill will spend eternity. By the way that is not my job. He seemed to be a chain smoker, he always has a cigar in his hand. He also, in the movie was even teased a bit by the king of England for his drinking. This is not an examination of Winston Churchills personal habits and addictions.
What I can tell you is that in the face of overwhelming odds, even when it seemed like the British Army was going to be utterly and completely destroyed, he refused to think of surrender and defeat. He somehow convinced himself and later others that victory was possible.
One of the great clips in the movie is when Churchill was meeting with his War Cabinet. Some of those present want to surrender to Hitler. There are 300,000 men stuck on a beach at Dunkirk. They are like sitting ducks and Hitler’s troops are moving toward them. It is a moment of great despair.
I cannot imagine how difficult it was to tell the War Cabinet that they had to sacrifice a unit of 4000 men and sacrifice them to save 300,000 men at Dunkirk. But in spite of overwhelming difficulty, he proposed fighting on.
Now I don’t pretend to be a psychologist or understand the intricate workings of the human mind. What I do understand from my years as pastor and studying the Word of God, is that what we tell ourselves in the desperate moments of life will have a powerful effect on how that situation turns out.
Psychologist have a term called self-talk. Self-talk is the conversation that goes on in your mind. The men in the war room were telling themselves in their minds the following:
- It is time to give up.
- It is time to give in.
- It is time to throw in the towel.
- We will surrender to Hitler.
- We cannot sacrifice anymore men.
- The cost is too great.
But Churchill was having a different conversation in his mind:
- I cannot give in to such a rascal as Hitler.
- Cost whatever it cost…we must fight on.
- We will not give in.
- We must pay the cost.
What self-talk do you employ when you hit desperate situations?
There are some people who when a dark hour comes begin to speak negatively about life. They actually begin to rehearse all of the enemies lies. They speak fear and worry. All of the worst case scenarios start going through their mind.
If we are going to make it through our dark hour. First of all, we have to believe that God is for us and not against us. You have to understand that He loves you. You have to understand that no matter what happens to you, around you, beside you, you are going to be alright, because God is with you.
And secondly, you had better know what this word says and have that firmly embedded in your spirit so that the Word can be a part of the self-talk in your mind. Remember that when you hear the Word preached and taught at church you have it deposited into your heart. Beyond that all believers need to study and know the Word of God for themselves. And when they do that, the word is getting down into their spirit. And in the dark hour, Faith will speak. Hope will speak. Courage will speak.
If your self-talk is not faith, how do you think faith will ever escape your lips. What you believe will come forth. 2 Corinthians 4:13 “And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak,” What you believe will come forth.
I have looked at many circumstances in my life and spoke right to them. I am not saying deny the reality of the situation. No! you can fully grasp the situation. It may look dark. But faith says, that God is above the dark situations of life. You see God at the movies when you recognize that faith works even in the realm of a global crisis.
The second lesson we learn from this movie and the Word is that we must…
2. Believe God Will Even Re-purpose Our Past
I have not studied Winston Churchill’s life enough to know a great deal about his past mistakes and failures. I do know enough that he was not seen with a great deal of popularity as he became prime minister. In the movie, he seems to struggle with a sense of doubt and wondering who he is. You can see God at the movies when you realize that all of the fight Churchill had bee through only prepared him for that hour.
There are two clips that reveal this. One clip shows him vocalizing his wonder at the fact that he has been asked to be prime minister. And the second clip shows where his wife speaks to him about these doubts and his past life.
Clip 12:07-14:00 with 1:30:28-1:31:22
At one point in the movie his wife says: “Being in a battle has actually trained you for this very moment.” While those words aren’t scripture, they do have the ring of truth to them. Everything that you go through in life has a purpose. You may be in a battle now. You might look back on all your past struggles and your dark hours and wonder why all this has happened. God can re-purpose it all.
If we are honest, we would even have to say that some of the dark hours of life we brought on ourselves. Here is the good news. That doesn’t matter. When you turn your life to God. God doesn’t waste that. Every struggle you have ever been through has prepared you for the moment to come.
Paul gives us this encouraging verse in Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Now it is important that you understand that it doesn’t say, “God causes all things.” There is a real devil in the world today who causes things. People cause things. Satan causes things. A corrupt world system under the influence of the spirit of antichrist causes things. It doesn’t say God causes it all.
Nor does it say, “all things are good.” That’s silly. War isn’t good. Car accidents and robberies aren’t good. What it says it that whatever happens to you as a believer who loves God can work together for good. God is able to take all things, good, bad, all of it and work it together for good in your life.
I don’t know the battles and struggles that Churchill had to go through that created the will in him to fight an unmitigated evil such as Hitler with such passion. Nor do I know all the battles you have gone through. I do know God can take all of that and repurpose it in your life so that it means something. The darkest hour that you have went through may mean that you have just the right words to say to someone at a crisis turning point in their own life. The darkest hour you went through, even if it was your most embarrassing life’s moment-God takes it and repurposes it into wisdom. That struggle you faced and it seemed like you were never going to come out with victory – All of that has created inside of you a will to fight spiritually in the lives of others.
3. Surround Yourself With Those Who Call Out Your Greatness
You can see God at the movies when you see people calling forth greatness in others. It is God and his word that often calls forth the good and the great in us. When we see that happening at the movies we recognize the fingerprints of God.
One of the most intriguing clips of the movie, is when the Prime Minster of England takes a ride on the underground. Churchill allows for the common ordinary man to call him to greatness.
The common people of England of that day are surprised and honored to see the prime minister on the train. At that point in the movie Churchill was seriously considering that they should surrender to Hitler, but the common man called him to greatness.
As Winston Churchill was deciding whether or not to surrender to Hitler, he found a community to call him to stand in spite of difficult obstacles.
I believe that one of the reasons why God created the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is because He knew that his followers would face difficulty. He knew that dark hours would come. Every person on the planet needs encouragement. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
Do you know encouragement means? It means to “put courage in.” Life takes courage! It takes courage to excel at your job. It takes courage to face and overcome an addiction. It takes courage to struggle through marriage problems. It takes courage to raise kids in our world.
One man’s definition says, “Encouragement is the expression to help someone become a better Christian when life is rough.” That’s what encouragement is; that’s putting courage in the heart.
When I preach, I want to give courage to those who hear me, to be able to face whatever is in front of them. But the most powerful encouragement or discouragement usually comes from the people around you! That is why everyone needs to be a part of a biblical community that can love and encourage.
God uses the common and the ordinary things. You see God at the movies when you see Him using ordinary people to influence a man like Churchill who then influenced the world. Go ahead! Become an encourager!
And then finally, if we are going to make it through the darkest hour. We must…
4. Recognize What We Are Up Against
Esther was up against unrelenting evil. Haman was out to kill and destroy the Jews. Churchill was up against Hitler. We know he was evil. Evil personified. Literally causing the death and extermination of millions of Jews.
Some of you may think, “Well, I am not fighting Hitler. I am not a world leader fighting a dictator intent on destroying everything.” That is true. However, let me take you John 10:10 which is a description of your spiritual enemy. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Satan is out to destroy people. It is evident to anyone who watches the History channel on TV when its showing Hitler and all he did, that underneath him was unrelenting evil.
But do you understand that the battles you face today, underneath that are the same spiritual satanic demonic forces trying to bring you down?
The enemy has done a good job putting many asleep spiritually. Do we not realize that demonic forces are after our children’s souls trying to get them to go out and get involved in sinful things? Why? Because the devil knows, if he can get them in bondage, he will be able to steal the joy and blessing after blessing from them. He will be able to destroy aspects of their life. His ultimate goal is to drag them off to hell completely separated from God.
That sounds like unrelenting evil to me. It is unrelenting evil that causes men and women to get tangled up in all kind of bondages such as alcohol, drugs or pornography. The question becomes, what will it take to wake the world up? What will it take for people to realize that the we fight against unrelenting evil? We need to wake up! As it says in Ephesians 5:14 “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”
This movie Darkest Hour was about the sinister evil forces that tried to get the British Empire to compromise and surrender to an evil force by the name of Hitler. I love the final clip of the speech that Churchill gave in parliament. It was that speech that galvanized the will of parliament, the will of the English people, and ultimately the world.
Clip final scene of movie
What an amazing speech that was. He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle. It was a declaration that they would stand up to unrelenting evil. The church must have the same sentiments.
I wrote a little speech today to galvanize our hearts:
The first thing I want to remind you of is that as a believer you face unrelenting evil in our world. It is satanic. I have taken a few phrases from his speech and rewrote my ending to this message.
Even though large parts of our country of the United States of America have fallen into sinfulness and wandered away from God, And even though many others who are around who currently are standing may fall into the grip of the enemy and all the odious apparatus of the satanic world system.
My brothers and my sisters, here at Fountain of Life, we shall not flag or fail! We shall go on the end. We will remain faithful to our precious Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We will go on the end. For us the end is either when the trumpet of God sounds and the rapture occurs, or when we the Lord calls us home. We will go on to the end. We are finishers.
In other words, today we are deciding that it does not matter how dark the world gets, it does not matter if others turn away, As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. We will not give up or give in. We will not run away or grow cold. We will not be distracted by any diversionary tactic of the enemy. We will continue to fight the good fight of faith. We will continue to set apart our hearts for God. We will continue to stay in the Word and in prayer, strengthening out inner being. We will fight for our country. We will not pick up arms and go to war for our warfare is not fought in a physical battle. We will fight on our knees. We will pray like never before. We will fight for our neighborhoods. We will fight for our schools. We will fight for Houston. We will fight for our nation.
We will stand against the onslaught of immorality. With a continued and a growing confidence in the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit flowing through us. With the belief that the gospel works will continue to proclaim it until we have not the breath to continue. We will proclaim Jesus at our workplace. We will shine for him in the marketplace. We will stand for him in the educational centers.
It doesn’t matter how many weapons Satan throws against us. We shall never surrender. Because the weapons of our warfare are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. There is still power in the blood. There is still power in the name of Jesus.
We will not surrender. And even if, which I do not for a moment believe, some of our brothers or sisters begin to fall from the attack of the enemy. Even if it is us. I believe that God will come to the rescue. I believe that somewhere in this great kingdom, God will raise up those who will encourage and pray for us. We will continue this fight…because God is fighting for us. How amazing that you can see God at the movies, especially when it is a historical movie.
God is fighting for us
God is on our side
He has overcome
Yes, He has overcome
We will not be shaken
We will not be moved
Jesus, You are here