From Darkest to Finest Hour

It’s easy to look back at history and assume it was easy.

But history wasn’t easy for Winston Churchill.

Darkest Hour is the Oscar-worthy film depicting Churchill entrenching himself as Britain’s commander in chief. (Spoilers ahead.)

Like any other smart politician, Churchill loads his war council with his opponents–the better to keep his eye on them. But also the better for them to wear him down. And they almost do.

Neville Chamberlain who appeased Hitler and thought he won “peace for our time” has not learned from his own folly and the Fuhrer’s deceit.

Circumstances are bleak with the British army stuck at Dunkirk and the skies clear for German aerial attacks.

Churchill states that they need a miracle–and indeed they do. The British had hoped to rescue ten percent of their army–30,000. Once the British civilian flotilla brings home more than 338,000, the nation is ready to share in Churchill’s resolve to continue the fight against fascism. Common Britains and the miracle of cloud cover make the difference.

This film does not depict what happens at Dunkirk. It instead captures the political decisions that make Dunkirk possible.

As a collector of witticisms and quotes, I recognized much that came out of Gary Oldman’s mouth as the actual words of Churchill. The great orator of England did not need a screenwriter to make him profound.

In June of 1940, less than one month after taking his post, Churchill gave his “Finest Hour” speech. He warned the British that victory was necessary. Otherwise, “the whole world . . . will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister and perhaps more protracted by the likes of perverted science.”

He held more wisdom than he himself realized. And many around him could not or would not see what was so clear to him. “Nations that went down fighting rose again, but those who surrendered tamely were finished.”

Churchill knew the war was a battle for “the survival of Christian civilization.” And we find ourselves in the same war waged in new ways.

Since we fight a different kind of war today–on many kinds of fronts–we need to be wise about who and how we engage. And some battles may not involve actual fighting. We need the wisdom that only God endows–and He sometimes endows it to the unexpected. Churchill was such an unexpected man.

May God grant us more Churchills today.


Photo Credit: Pixabay

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