The miracle of Dunkirk

September 3rd 2009 marked the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the 2nd World War and some are saying “it is so long ago, why remember the past?” This view shows how uninformed some people are today. The fact that these events took place 70 years ago is irrelevant because the real issue is that the consequences of these events are still with us now. If the outcome of the war had been different, quite literally you wouldn’t be alive to read this article and I wouldn’t have been born to write it. This uncomfortable truth must never be forgotten. Present lives need to be set in the context of what happened in the past.

Many don’t realise just how close we came to defeat and national annihilation. This country was in such a terrible state we were brought to our knees literally. At first when war was declared nothing much happened, but within a few months France and Belgium fell to the Germans. The only port from which to evacuate the British Army was Dunkirk where they were trapped against the sea. Our troops were encircled and the German Army was proceeding to their annihilation. The position was so serious it was estimated that a mere twenty thousand would be rescued. Almost the entire British Army was about to perish. There was no human solution to this crisis; the end of the British way of life had come or so it appeared.

In sheer desperation King George 6th called for a National Day of Prayer to be held on 26th May. In a national broadcast he instructed the people of the UK to plead for Divine Intervention. Together with members of the Cabinet, the King attended Westminster Abbey whilst literally millions of people across the British Isles flocked to churches praying for deliverance. Nothing like it had ever been seen before in our country or indeed in any country with people queuing to get into churches pleading for help. That’s how serious the situation really was.

What happened next was the most timely deliverance ever to occur in the history of our nation with two great phenomena following this Day of Prayer. The first was a great storm which broke out over the area on the 28th May hindering the assault of the German Airforce and the second was the great calm which settled on the English Channel the likes of which had not occurred for decades. This calm enabled an armada of boats to rescue about 335,000 men. Fours years later this deliverance further meant that Britain was able to provide a “launch pad” for the liberation of Europe. If the British Army had been destroyed at Dunkirk the UK would have been occupied and the liberation of Europe would never have happened. Again, this stark truth must not be forgotten. The violent storm and Channel calm immediately following this Day of Prayer made possible what people began to call “the miracle of Dunkirk.”

During the war there were so many instances of Divine assistance at crucial moments that in October 1942 Churchill commented; “I sometimes have a feeling of interference. I want to stress that. I have a feeling sometimes that some Guiding Hand has interfered. I have a feeling that we have a Guardian so long as we serve that Cause faithfully.”

During this season of remembrance let us reflect on how different it nearly was. We are now living our lives because of deliverances and miracles as well as the sacrifices made by countless people in the field of conflict. It is “no small thing” that we are remembering. And as we remember we must ask “is the UK showing itself worthy of such deliverances?” “Is our society setting an example to the world by our beliefs and moral standards?” Churchill stated that while we stood for a great “cause” we would have a “Great Guardian”. But what “Causes” does the UK stand for today; greed, immorality and unbelief? Such things have no Guardian. It is little wonder British society is in such a mess. The stark lesson from wartime is that if we want to be delivered from the problems besetting sour nation today then we need to put God and the Ten Commandments back at the heart of our society.