Overcoming Fear Can Lead to Greatness
King George VI is, in my own opinion, the most intriguing monarch of the 20th century. He was the second son of King George V. His first given name was Albert, after his paternal great-grandfather, as a tribute to him and Queen Victoria was pleased by this. He was called Bertie by those who were close to him.
He always seemed to be in his brother’s shadow and this would lead to confidence problems later on in his life. He also suffered from a stammer, chronic stomach problems, and knock knees which he would have to wear corrective splints for it. He was also naturally left-handed but he was forced to use his right-hand.
He would marry Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons and she would be his greatest supporter. Because of his stammer, Bertie hated public speaking. After a disastrous speech at the British Empire Exhibition, he began speech lessons with Lionel Logue, a speech therapist. If you have seen the movie, The King’s Speech, then you know the story behind Mr. Logue.
Bertie became king when his older brother, King Edward VIII, abdicated to marry a divorced woman (see my previous blog). He was reluctant to accept. In his early reign, he had to deal with the problems that his brother left behind, assess the situation with Hitler in Germany as well as the tension that was building in Europe. He was aware that war was a prominent probability that another war was going to happen.
George VI proved to be a great king and he was loved by the people. He was able to regain the people’s trust in the monarchy again, which they lost favor during Edward VIII’s reign. Being king took its toll on him, especially with the stress of the war. These health issues, coupled with his heavy smoking, ultimately cut his life short. He died in 1952 at the age of 56.
George VI spent much of his life being afraid, but once he was able to overcome some of those fears he was able to accomplish great things. He was able to do what he was called to do. Jonah was another fellow who was called to do something but, unlike King George, he fled from this calling. The Lord called Jonah to go and speak to the city of Nineveh because of their wickedness. He did not want to do this because he was afraid. So he attempted to flee to Tarshish. Then the Lord casted a great wind on the sea. Jonah was eventually swallowed up by a great fish. He remained in the belly of the fish for three days. He prayed to the Lord and vowed that he would bring deliverance to the people of Nineveh. Then the Lord had the great fish heave Jonah on dry land and he would then bring deliverance to those people who were casted down by their wickedness.
We are all called to greatness, each in our own way. George VI was called to be king. Jonah was called to be a prophet. I’m called to teach. Whatever our task is, it will most certainly have its challenges. We cannot be afraid of these challenges. We have to face them head on. Who gives us the strength to do this? God.
Psalms 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?” (Psalms 27:1, NAB) God gives us the strength to accomplish greatness. So many things become possible to accomplish with the Lord’s help. The only one we should fear is the Lord, and He is on our side.
Once we overcome these fears, we can accomplish great things.