As many celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year reign this weekend, I thought it fitting to write about her hope and faith in Jesus Christ.
During the pandemic, many looked to the Queen to deliver a message of hope for what seemed a very hopeless time for the nation when the country was in lockdown and people did not see their loved ones. The Queen said, “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”
This message reflected the same tone of being apart in the Second World War. Elizabeth walked through the suffering of the nation as a 13 year old Princess. Her father, King George VI and mother Queen Elizabeth remained at Buckingham Palace during the war, standing with their people. Our monarch has displayed a servant-heart toward the country through painful trials and has stayed resolute to her vows at her coronation:
The things which I have here before promised, I will perform and keep. So help me God.Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation Oath, 1953
An anchor through the storms of life
More than just a one time promise at a key historical moment in history, Queen Elizabeth’s Christian faith has been her anchor throughout her life. The general public may listen to her Christmas Day message at 3pm and hear of her hope in the good news of Jesus. In her first Christmas broadcast, she asked people everywhere to “pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life.” I believe we have seen, and continue to see, the answer to that prayer.
She ended this message, “May God bless and guide you all through the coming year.” As much as we may seek blessing as a nation, I believe that it is guidance that we desperately need. And I believe that we need to turn our eyes to Jesus once again, for without Him as our anchor, we are adrift like flotsam and jetsam on a billowing and turning tide; being tossed about in the storms of this life with no direction at all. Indeed, it’s a hopeless situation without Him. We are dead in the water. We are dead in sin. Yet Jesus saves us, makes us new and gives everlasting life to those who follow Him.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23
Grieving in the hope of the Gospel
The Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 (50 years as Queen) was also the year that her mother and sister died. They passed away within a month of each other. Yet, in the midst of grief, she clung to her hope in the gospel. In the 2002 Christmas broadcast she shared:
I know just how much I rely on my own faith to guide me through the good times and the bad. Each day is a new beginning, I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God. Like others of you who draw inspiration from your own faith, I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel.Queen Elizabeth II, Christmas Message, 2002
Even in her grief at losing her ‘strength and stay’ Prince Philip during the pandemic, and sitting by herself at his funeral, she stood in solidarity with her country. This deep service and commitment is modelled to her in Jesus Christ, who was and is the Servant King. He laid down his life for His people and came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20:28). Queen Elizabeth has exemplified this in her life in humility, looking to the interests of others.
The Queen has not retired from her duty at 96 years of age. Her promise before God and for her country has propelled her to carry on, until her last breath. The Queen’s hope in Jesus does not end when she dies. She will meet the Lord Jesus whom she has served faithfully and trusted implicitly throughout her time on earth.
As she watched from the balcony of Buckingham Palace as the Red Arrows flew over with brush strokes of red, white and blue, I thought of how she was looking up and out. She looks up, and knows the God that she serves is with her. He is faithful and He sustains her. She looks out, seeing the crowd of people below her; people who have come to celebrate and take in the tremendous years of service that she has dedicated to her country.
When we sing ‘God Save The Queen’, we can know that God also saves us. When we trust in Jesus, believing that He died for us and that He is our hope, we are saved. For ‘if you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved’ (Romans 10:9). The Queen has lived her life knowing Jesus and proclaiming the gospel in both word and action. May we follow her example in our daily life and look to King Jesus whom our Queen serves.
For further information exploring the Queen’s faith and how it has shaped her life, I encourage you to read The Servant Queen and the King she serves.