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Story From History

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Francis KongI’ve always wondered what it would feel like to be a student at Oxford. Oh, how I envied students at Harvard, Cambridge, Yale, and those Ivy League schools...until my opportunity came. I chanced upon a website that offered a summer course right smack in the middle of my dream school Oxford University.

Cost me an arm and a leg, but I enrolled, moved my calendar around (my accountant complained, saying something about opportunities lost), prepared my backpack—and lived my fantasy.

After arriving late at Heathrow Airport after a long flight, and then taking a long walk and a long bus ride, I finally arrived in the heart of Oxford. I entered Queen’s College and attended classes

I looked at my room in the dorm. Clean, one single bed, a shower...and no TV! What? No TV? Then I began thinking: That’s what school is for. Studying, not watching TV. So I settled that in my mind and put my entire being on study mode.

Oxford bubbled with history. It reminded me of a story told by author Steve Farrar in his book God Built. I would like to share it with you:

“In God We Trust” is imprinted on every coin issued in the United States. In 1588 England, the Queen of England Queen Elizabeth ordered that a gold medal be struck with the motto: “He blew and they were scattered.

Now why in the world would that phrase be put on a gold medal? Here is the story behind the story.

In May 1588, Spain was the most powerful nation on earth. And riding the crest of that power, the Spanish had set their sights on invading and capturing England. To accomplish that task, King Philip of Spain sent his navy—the most powerful navy on the seas. This fleet, made up of over a hundred warships, was knows as the Invincible Armada. No nation on earth could hope to defeat it.

Departing Spain, the fleet sailed north toward England. Before they could attack, however, they ran into a monster storm—actually, a massive hurricane with its murderous winds that virtually annihilated the Spanish Armada. This became the end of Spain as a world power.

The winds have stopped them before they could reach England. And all of England, including Queen Elizabeth knew that God had sent the storm. “He blew and they were scattered” was the phrase of praise that was uttered in every village, pub and church in all of England. Not a word was said about “Mother Nature” or a chance event. All of the glory went to God.

And then Farrar talks about another incident. While God sent the wind to England, He used a fog to turn the tide of history in America. Farrar writes:

And then Farrar talks about another incident. While God sent the wind to England, He used a fog to turn the tide of history in America. Farrar writes:

It was fog that saved 9,000 American soldiers under the command of George Washington on Friday, April 30, 1776. Trapped in Brooklyn, New York, the soldiers were sitting ducks for the shells of the British navy ships—and were on the verge of being surrounded by British troops.

So Washington ordered a radical solution. They would evacuate all 9,000 men and their equipment, including wagons, by boat. They would have to make a mile-wide river crossing in the dark of night without any lights.

As soon as night fell, the soldiers began to load into the boats. Not a word was spoken aloud and not a light was lit. Throughout the night, crossing after crossing was made. With dawn soon approaching, however, many men remained to be evacuated. But astonishingly, just before the rays of dawn brought light to the scene, a heavy, thick fog descended.

It was impossible to see more than 6 feet. Even with the sun up, the fog remained as dense as ever, while over on the New York side of the river there was no fog at all.

A little past 7 in the morning, the last soldiers landed on the New York side of the river, and within minutes the thick fog lifted. 9000 American troops had been evacuated from the grasp of the enemy—with the aid of darkness and fog. As the fog lifted, the British officers were utterly astonished. They could see Washington’s soldiers waving at them from the New York side.

The same God who 200 years earlier had saved the British Navy, now confronted the British Navy.

In 1588, God blew and they were scattered. In 1776, God blew and the fog scattered.

The same God that gives us The Bible is the God of Revelation. He reveals Himself to us as the God of History as we see how history reveals Him.

It takes greater faith NOT to believe in the Power and the Presence of God. Study the Bible and study history as well.

The entire experience in Oxford made me appreciate the importance of study and learning. But my experience in Oxford also teaches me that history is His-Story. The lessons learned and stored in my head are important. But the lessons learned and stored in my heart are more valuable.

Print ed: 08/09

 

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