As the picture would suggest, I recently went to see the movie, Darkest Hour, which details in fascinating fashion how close to the edge of destruction Britain came in WWII. Nearly their whole army—300,000 men—trapped on the shores of Dunkirk, sitting ducks for the Nazis.
The story is awash in desperation—and human courage—most notably that of the irascible Churchill (who did not deserve to have his statue returned to Britain in 2008).
The backstory, though, is the one you almost never hear. On Sunday of that fateful weekend in May, the king declared a National Day of Prayer. Thousands of Britains piled into cathedrals, with queues out the door, to pray for their sons.
In a mystery no one has yet unraveled, Hitler halted his advance for three days. For no explainable reason. Bad weather grounded German planes all of Tuesday, allowing the troops to assemble on the beach. And Wednesday—the day of evacuation—the sea was utterly calm and the skies cleared. 800 civilian boats carried the troops safely across the channel.
It’s always been called “the miracle of Dunkirk” though it’s been a long, long time since the God who grants miracles was given the honor and gratitude that belongs to Him.
My point, though, is a bit different. What the film reminded me is that the real story in any situation is always the God-story. It’s behind the scenes—and easy to skip past, just as these movie producers did. Yet how God is at work in history, as well as the personal details of our lives—this is ultimately, what really matters. It’s the real story.
I saw that in my own life this Christmas. Cooking and decorating and who came to dinner—isn’t this what we report to each other? What we think of as “Christmas?” It’s the Christmas I describe to my friends.
But behind the moving picture of stuff happening on a holiday, an older couple who are parents of four adopted children, invited our son and his wife to lunch on Christmas Eve. Around their table, they let Brady and Hannah share their adoption saga. They listened. And understood. They got it.
Isn’t that always one of the great gift moments in your life? When you tell some little piece of your story and the other person gets it? Oh my stars, it’s such a gift.
This “behind the scenes” stuff in our lives is where it’s really happening. Whether it’s the story of Dunkirk—or our kid’s lunch with an older, caring couple—what’s happening just off center stage is the important part. It’s the God-story that counts. Always.
Habakkuk was the Old Testament guy that claimed this truth originally (Habakkuk 1:5). He said that God is, indeed, doing something in our day we would not believe if we were told.
I think those words are just as true in your personal life, and in mine, as they are in the big scheme of things.
As this year opens up on a fresh page, I want to encourage you to ask God—as I am—to keep your eyes wide open to see what He’s about, the actual story He is writing in your life.
Your story has pockets of beauty and goodness you will miss if you aren’t careful—those little important happenings that whisper of a greater glory to come.