– an example from history
Sometime in England in the early 1400s, there was a king named Henry. I forget which King Henry he was, for over a period of time England had eight kings named Henry. This particular King Henry had been having disagreements with the Pope.
To try to get in the Pope’s good graces, Henry decided to show his support for something the Pope had done. There was a priest named John Wycliffe. He had written a number of articles that the Pope did not like. More than that, he was telling the English people that they should read the Bible and decide for themselves what God wanted them to do, rather than rely on the Pope to tell them. Wycliffe next decided that the Bible used by the Catholic Church was not a good translation, so he and some friends made a new translation. The Pope reacted by forbidding the reading of Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible. To show his support for the Pope and in hopes that he could get into the Pope’s good graces, King Henry declared that anyone owning a copy of John Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible was to be imprisoned and then executed. When the Pope heard this, he was appalled. In Rome, the Pope said, we burn books, over in England King John kills people for owning those books! The Pope did not like this, but nevertheless that was King John’s law.
King John had a beautiful and very godly wife. Hearing about Wycliffe’s Bible, the Queen quietly got a copy. She kept it hidden in a secret compartment in her
bedroom. Every day she and her ladies in waiting would take it out and read it together.
One day the king and queen were talking. They began to talk about God and the Bible. The King got very hot and angry when the queen, his wife, did not agree with the things he believed. The problem was, the king never read the Bible while the queen was reading it every day. Both the king and his wife got a bit excited over their discussion.
The queen made a point of saying, “but the Bible says . . . . “ The problem was, she did not quote from the Catholic Bible and the king realized that. He also knew that the only other copy of the Bible in England was the Bible translated by John Wycliffe. This was the Bible that the king had said whoever owned a copy would go to prison and be executed for having that copy. The queen saw the look on the king’s face. It told everything. She realized her husband the king knew now that she owned and was reading a copy of Wycliffe’s Bible. There was a long silence.
Then the king called a page to him and asked for a sheet of parchment and a quill pen. He wrote something on the parchment, folded it and handed it to the page, telling the page in a whisper to go at once and find the captain of the palace guard. He was to tell the captain of the guard, the king said in a whisper, to come at once with six of his most trusted guards.
As soon as he was outside in the corridor, the page looked at the parchment. He saw that it was an order to the captain of the guard to come quickly and arrest the queen. He was then to take her away to prison until she could be executed for treason.
Instead of going straight to the office of the captain of the guard, the page went first to a place where he hoped to see some of the ladies in waiting of the queen.
He was in luck. Seeing the head of the queen’s ladies in waiting, the page pretended to drop the king’s order. Picking it up, he made sure that the head of the queen’s ladies in waiting had a chance to see what the king had written. He then went on his way to find the captain of the guard. While the page took his time, the head of the queen’s ladies in waiting raced thru the corridors of the palace to the apartment where the king and queen were. Knocking at the door and being told to enter, she went in. She dropped a swift courtesy to the king, and then, after curtseying to the queen, she quickly whispered the news in the queen’s ear. Even as she whispered the warning to the queen, they could hear the sound of soldiers marching thru the corridor. A moment later that was a knock on the door and the captain of the guard with six of his most trusted men entered.
As the king opened his mouth to order her arrest, the queen uttered a silent prayer for help to God. She had no time to do anything else. As she quickly and quietly asked for help, a thought, one single lone thought, came into her mind.
She had the time to speak it or remain silent. She had no time to say or do anything else. Without hesitation, the queen spoke to her husband the king. She said she hoped their argument had made him forget the constant pain from his gout.
As she said that, the king looked at her with wonderment in his eyes. He then called her his darling wonderful wife. He said he realized now that she was only pretending to argue with him about the Bible. He realized, he said, that she wanted to help him forget for a brief time the constant pain he was in from the gout. He began to praise her and tell her what a wonderful woman and what a wonderful wife she was. He then turned to the captain of the guard and told him he was not needed, that he could return to his quarters and take his men. You should only wish, he said to the captain of the guard, that you had a wife as wonderful as mine is!
Did God only speak to people in the Bible, or does He still speak to us today? If you could have asked the Queen of England that day, she would have told you.
God does still speak to us today. We just have to listen and do as He tells us. The queen only had one chance to do what God told her to do. She did what He said and she did not go to prison and lose her life. Instead, she had a very happy husband that day, one who would have done anything for her and one who never challenged her about the Bible again, either.
Has God ever spoken to you?