I’ve always been amazed how God sometimes chooses the person whom you would least expect to accomplish His amazing plans! Such is the case with the young George VI of England in the 1930’s as Britain is headed towards war with Germany. The incredible movie “The King’s Speech” tells his true-life story. He is the son of King George V and has the apparent leadership skills to be the next in line to be King, but he has one big problem, he stammers (in today’s vernacular, stutters) whenever he gets nervous, like say when he needs to address a large crowd. As a king, he would need to do this quite often, and his father knows that while he loves his eldest son dearly, his stammering problem would be too much of an obstacle to overcome if he were to name him his successor as King of England.
However, George VI is still the Duke of York, and therefore needs to give public speeches, so his loving wife Elizabeth seeks out a Doctor who may help him with his stammering problem. While perusing the classifieds one morning she comes across a man named Lionel Logue, who says that he can help her husband with his speech problem. She agrees to have her husband come with her to an appointment so Lionel can evaluate if he can indeed help young George VI, who is known by his family by the nickname of Bertie.
Over the course of this wonderful true story, Lionel helps Bertie by using some rather unorthodox methods, such as having Bertie listen to classic Mozart pieces on headphones while reading Shakespeare, and recording Bertie’s voice as he reads. Bertie is shocked to find that he can read without stammering while listening to music, and Lionel begins coaching Bertie through the delicate procedure of figuring out why Bertie began stammering in the first place, and acts as much like a psychiatrist and a speech therapist rolled into one.
As they get closer as friends, Lionel begins encouraging Bertie that he could be King of England if he were to try hard enough. Bertie, initially angry with Lionel for meddling in his personal life, storms out of Lionel’s office in anger, leading Lionel to remark to his wife that he has a patient who ‘could be great’ if he were to reach his full potential. I believe that when God looks at us, He also sees certain potential in each one of us, and sometimes perhaps, He too is frustrated with us when we don’t trust Him enough to walk out His plan for our lives!
In 1 Samuel 16, God tells Samuel that he is supposed to anoint the man who will be the next King of Israel. God tells Samuel that He is going to choose one of the sons of a man named Jesse. However, as Samuel approaches each son the Lord tells him that He “has not chosen this one.’ After approaching each son present at the house and being told by God that none of them are His chosen person, Samuel asks Jesse if he has any more sons. Jesse replies that his youngest son is in fact out in the fields shepherding his flocks. Samuel asks Jesse to summon this young man, and when the young man is brought before Samuel, God reveals to Samuel that this is in fact the man He has chosen to be the next king of Israel. This young man’s name was David, a man whom would become one of the finest kings in Israel’s history! You see “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."(1 Samuel 16:7b NIV). Therefore, though David was young and not as fit looking as his older brothers, God chose him because he looked at David’s heart. This is what Lionel is looking at in Bertie, a man who outwardly doesn’t look like he can be a leader because of his stammer, but inwardly has the heart to lead his country!
As the story progresses, Bertie’s father King George V becomes ill and dies, and Bertie’s younger brother Edward is named the next King of England. The problem is, while Edward is great at giving speeches, he wants to marry a woman who has been married two times before him. As head of the Church of England (which a position given to every King of England) Edward cannot marry a divorced woman, so he chooses to abdicate the throne to Bertie. This is where Bertie decides to continue seeing Lionel to help him with his speech problems.
As I watched this wonderful film, my mind was drawn immediately to the story of Moses in the Old Testament book of Exodus. You see, Moses was the man God chose to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt. Moses however, had a problem. In Exodus 4:10 Moses says to the Lord “O Lord, I’m just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I’m not now, even after You have spoken to me. I’m clumsy with words.” (NLT) Most Biblical scholars agree that Moses probably meant by this that he stuttered. When the Lord responds to Moses by saying that He will help him to speak well, Moses still begs God to send someone else. Then we are told that God became angry with Moses and said he would send Moses’ brother Aaron with him to be his spokesperson and that He (God) would speak through both of them (v. 14-16).
In some ways like Lionel was to Bertie in this movie, Aaron became the person who helped Moses to become the man God already knew Moses could become. As the book of Exodus unfolds we see Moses and Aaron appear before Pharaoh many times and for the first several times Moses tells Aaron what to say to Pharaoh and Aaron speaks for Moses. However, by chapter 11 Scripture mentions Moses speaking to Pharaoh directly. In chapter 13 he addresses the Israelites directly. It certainly appears the over time God allowed Moses to become a better speaker.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul tells us that the Lord spoke to him about the thorn in his flesh, and that God said “My power works best in your weakness.” You see God is a God of the impossible and when He chooses to use someone He will give that person what he or she need when they need it. In Psalm 46:1 David writes that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (NIV) I am sure Moses felt like he was in time of trouble many times while fighting to free the Lord’s chosen people. I’m sure Bertie felt that way too as he began facing the challenge of being a king of country headed towards war; a king who didn’t have a strong speaking voice, but whom his country could be inspired to hope in and fight for.
As Bertie is preparing for his official ceremony to be sworn in as King of England, Lionel sits a chair that is usually occupied by another member of the English government, that he knows he has no business sitting in, and Bertie tells him to get out of it. Lionel asks him why he should listen to him. Bertie stammers a bit, but finally states somewhat angry ‘because I have a voice’ at which point Lionel states ‘yes you do!’
You see, in life we all need to find our voice, and use it to fulfill the potential that God has for us in each of our individual lives. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus told us to ‘seek first the kingdom of God’ in our lives because knowing His will is essential to our ability to serve Him. He also told us one chapter later in Matthew 7 to “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (v. 7-8 NIV). I don’t know about you but it sounds to me like God truly does want to reveal what His plans out in our lives if we are willing to listen. He also often uses other people to speak His truths to us in our lives. Like Lionel did to Bertie in “The King’s Speech” if we surround ourselves with other people wiser and further down the road in their walks with the Lord, we will encounter people who will challenge us to move closer to the plan God has for our lives. We won’t always be comfortable with what they tell us, but if we take what they have to say to heart, we will more than likely look back one day and realize that what they said helped shape us into what we have become!