Examples of God's help in wartime

Today the world is in a more dangerous state than it has ever been since the end of the Second World War. There is unrest and turmoil wherever one looks and watching the television news is becoming increasingly disturbing.  With all this in mind, it is uplifting to read about how God intervened to help individuals during that previous world conflict, when all seemed lost. Times have been dark before and amidst that chaos God was actively at work ensuring that ultimately evil wouldn’t be victorious. The following are four true accounts of God’s direct Divine Intervention. They are an encouraging reminder that God has not abandoned this world and just as God intervened then 70 or so years ago, we may be sure He is still actively at work today with the same aim and purpose.

The first story is about Divine Intervention which saved the life of Wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. On a regular basis Churchill used to visit antiaircraft batteries in order to inspire courage and confidence among the population. On one occasion after having watched gunners in action for a while, he walked back to his car. As his chauffeur held open the door to his usual seat, Churchill suddenly heard a Voice inside his head say “Stop”. As he later explained to his wife “It appeared to me that I was meant to sit on the other side of the car, and that is what I did.” Several minutes later, as his car was making its way through the blacked-out streets a bomb exploded beside it. If Churchill had been sitting in his usual seat, he would have been killed. It is important to realise that this act of Divine Intervention wasn’t for Churchill’s personal benefit, but because of the role he had in leading the free world in the struggle against Nazism. It was a Deliverance which was a blessing to countless millions.

Many devout Christians had to endure living in occupied countries during Wartime. The following three stories come from occupied Europe and are a reminder that “God shows no partiality; whoever fears Him and works righteousness from any nation is accepted by Him.” (Acts Ch10vs34-35).

On 30th January 1945 a certain Christian woman from Frankfurt was fleeing from the advancing Russian army. With great difficulty she succeeded in catching the last train leaving towards the west in the direction of Hannover, Braunschweig and Seesen. The train kept constantly stopping, however in spite of all this, she managed to fall asleep. Suddenly she was awoken by a Voice in her head which said, “Get out of the train.” She looked out the window and noticed that the train was once again at a standstill. All she could see was an endless snowy plain. Once again she heard a Voice say “You must get out.” She thought to herself “Surely I can’t get out here, in this snowy waste.” But the Voice repeated even more urgently; “you must get out.”

Somewhat reluctantly she picked up her two heavy suitcases and rucksack, opened the door of the carriage and jumped out. The snow was so deep it came right up to her knees. “You must be crazy” she thought to herself. She struggled on and at around 4.30am found the shelter of a small station. Shortly afterwards she learned that Hannover had been heavily bombed and that the train she had been on, had gone straight into the conflagration. Again, just as Churchill’s life was spared because of the role he had, this person’s life was delivered, because she had some particular role to play in God’s plan to help rebuild the country after the end of war.

A very similar deliverance occurred to another Christian lady two weeks later. On 13th February 1945 this particular person, who was also fleeing from the Russians, arrived in Dresden. The city was packed with people. As she stood among a crowd of literally hundreds of thousands reflecting on what to do next, she suddenly heard a Voice say very loudly “Just get out of here!” The Voice repeated the warning again and again. Finally she said to her traveling companion that she felt that the Lord wanted them to leave the city. Her companion thought she was being stupid, however not wanting to be left alone among a sea of strangers she accompanied her to a nearby station.

With great difficulty they managed to get onto an overcrowded train without even knowing where it was heading. A few hours later, Dresden was almost totally destroyed in a massive bombing raid. Her travel companion who was in a state of shock, repeatedly asked how she had known this was going to happen. She flatly refused to believe that her Christian friend had been Divinely guided, until they encountered two other Christians who had been given exactly the same warning. This incident is very reminiscent of how God delivered Lot and his family before fire rained down destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis Ch19vs12-16)

One dark winters evening in the inner city of Haarlem, deliverance came in a slightly manner to a young Christian mother. During the war a moonless night meant total and complete darkness. Blackout meant that not a single ray of light could be seen anywhere. Street lights were switched off and there were no bicycle or car headlights. This lady knew the area so well that she had learned how many steps she needed to take, in order to find her way home in the pitch dark.

Walking along she counted each step she made. Finally she came to the fish market stall. She felt for the stall with her hands and sure enough, there it was. From the end of the stall, she then counted out eleven paces after which she needed to turn sharp left over a canal bridge. Just as she was on the point of turning left, her arm was grabbed, pulling her back. At the same time she heard a Voice warn “Think of your children.” Somewhat startled, she carefully edged forward feeling out for the railings of the bridge. There was nothing there but empty space and deep freezing water. After a frantic search, she finally found the bridge and got back safely to her family. As she lay in bed thinking about it, the more puzzled she became. She couldn’t understand what had happened to the bridge. Finally, unable to sleep that night, she got up at first light and went back to the canal. Instantly it all made sense; the fish market stall had been moved from its usual position.

In a speech given on 31st October 1942, Winston Churchill stated “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 because we have a great Cause, and we shall have that Guardian so long as we serve that Cause faithfully.” And this conviction was shared by numerous other people who likewise discerned God’s restraining Hand from time to time. (1st Corinthians Ch2v14).

Take for example, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding who was Commander-in-Chief of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. He said in a personal testimony; “I pay homage to those gallant boys who gave their all that our nation might live…but I say with absolute conviction that I can trace the intervention of God, not only in the Battle itself, but in the events leading up to it. At the end of the Battle one had the feeling that there had been some special Divine Intervention to alter some sequence of events which would otherwise have occurred.”

General Sir William Dobbie likewise shared this view. He was so moved by the Divine Intervention which he witnessed during the siege of Malta, that he actually wrote a book about it entitled “A Very Present Help”. Dobbie was Governor of Malta during its siege which began in 1940 and it’s profoundly encouraging to read what he experienced. He stated “It was obvious to us that our human resources were woefully inadequate…God’s Word was a great standby to me and many others too at this time. In it, I read how God had helped His people in old times when they were faced with situations similar to that confronting us…Many people in Malta realised our need of His help and were prepared to ask Him to give it to us. By no other means could we be sure of holding this vital outpost. I humbly believe that God, in His mercy, answered our prayers and in the two years and more of the siege which followed, His help was very obvious and very real.”

He continued, “At about the same time that the siege began, I was greatly encouraged by a telegram I received from the Chief of the Imperial Staff, General Sir Edmund Ironside. It showed me that others in high places at home were thinking along the same lines as we were in Malta. The telegram, which was addressed to me personally, contained the reference, ‘Deuteronomy Ch3v22 “You shall not fear them, for the Lord your God shall fight for you.”’ This was a very welcome reminder of a great and well-proved truth and coming as it did from a person in his position and in view of its timing, it meant much to me.”

“I have said that the help which God gave was very obvious and real. The same help was noticed at the time
of withdrawal from Dunkirk, and during the Battle of Britain. It certainly was so in the Battle of Malta. During the two years which followed the declaration of war by Italy, God’s protecting hand was so much in evidence that people were noticing it and remarking upon it. On a number of occasions officers came up to me and said quite spontaneously; ‘Do you know sir, I think that Someone up there (pointing upwards) has been helping us today.’ Such a conversation took place not once nor twice but a number of times.”

Today the world is in turmoil and evil is rising like a tide threatening to engulf us all. Let us not despair. We can be sure that God has not forgotten this world. Just as He was active in human affairs during the last World War so we may be sure that He will be equally active during any future world crisis. Truly “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid even if the world is shaken or the mountains carried to the sea.” Psalm 46vs1-2.