Christians You Should Know: Lady Jane Grey - Enjoying the Journey
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” – Proverbs 18:10
A Snapshot of the Life of Lady Jane Grey:
Born: c 1537, in Bradgate, England
Died: Feb. 12, 1554, in London, England
Martyred English princess. This highly intelligent young woman at the age of twelve was able to write Greek and Latin, speak French and Italian, and was rapidly grasping a knowledge of Hebrew, Chaldee, and Arabic. She was the great granddaughter of King HENRY VII and a victim of a plot to wrestle the throne away from the Tudors and into the family line of the Dudleys. Her father, Earl Grey of Dorset, and the duke of Northumberland, plotted the deception by marrying Jane to the duke’s youngest son, Lord Guildford Dudley, May 1553 and by persuading the dying King EDWARD VI to deed Jane into the line of succession. Upon Edward’s death, Jane briefly became queen on July 10, 1553, at the age of 16. However the council repudiated the action and Mary I was crowned nine days later. Jane and her husband were imprisoned in the Tower of London. At age 17 she pleaded guilty to treason–not wanting to shame her Lord- even though she was the victim of political intrigue, her father’s participation in the abortive insurrection led by Sir Thomas Wyatt. After seven months in prison, Jane was beheaded along with her husband. Her martyrdom was also the result of her faith. She could have converted to Catholicism and maybe became queen. Instead she gave a short testimony and laid her head on the block. – (Excerpt taken from the Reese Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian Biographies. Used by permission.)
A Spiritual Application for our Lives:
What do you do with difficulty? How can a believer respond when troubles and persecutions arise? The testimony of Lady Jane Grey is one of the most compelling accounts of Christian steadfastness in Church history. Many lessons ought to be drawn from this remarkable young woman. The greatest lesson: run to the Lord during your difficulty. The great temptation for all of us is to argue and fuss over every trouble, but God desires to use our trouble as a pathway to communion with Him.
I hope you will ponder these excerpts from the final recorded prayer of seventeen-year-old Lady Jane Grey. These words were penned just hours before her execution.
“O merciful God, consider my misery, best known unto thee; and be thou now unto me a strong tower of defense, I humbly require thee. …be thou a deliverer unto me out of this great misery, or else give me grace patiently to bear thy heavy hand…Why dost thou make so long tarrying? shall I despair of thy mercy? Oh God! Far be that from me; I am thy workmanship, created in Christ Jesus; give me grace therefore to tarry thy leisure, and patiently to bear thy works, assuredly knowing, that as thou canst, so thou wilt deliver me, when it shall please thee, nothing doubting or mistrusting thy goodness towards me; for thou knowest better what is good for me than I do.“
If we are going to allow God to work through our difficulties, we must remember who He is and who we are. He is God. We are created and saved by His love and grace (Ephesians 2:8-10). The Lord is always seeking to shape us and mold us into the image of Christ (Galatians 4:19-21). Lady Jane Grey recognized this in her prayer – “for thou knowest better what is good for me than I do.” This realization is one of the most calming and peace-giving assurances for the believer.
As bold as Lady Jane Grey may have been, she knew that she did not possess the strength to endure. She cried out to the Lord for His divine enablement and prayed to him from His Word. Alluding to Ephesians 6, she continued…
“…therefore do with me in all things what thou wilt, and plague me what way thou wilt. Only in the meantime, arm me, I beseech thee, with thy armor, that I may stand fast…my loins being girded about with verity, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and shod with the shoes prepared by the gospel of peace; above all things, taking to me the shield of faith, wherewith I may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked; and taking the helmet of salvation, and the sword of thy spirit, which is thy most holy word; praying always, with all manner of prayer and supplication, that I may refer myself wholly to thy will, abiding thy pleasure, and comforting myself in those troubles that it shall please thee to send me; seeing such troubles be profitable for me, and seeing I am assuredly persuaded that it cannot but be well all thou doest. Hear me, O merciful Father, for his sake, whom thou wouldest should be a sacrifice for my sins; to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory.”
What a testimony of true dependence upon the character and Word of God. We selected Proverbs 18:10 to remember Lady Jane Grey. For it was from her tower of captivity, that Lady Jane Grey ran to her own strong tower – the Lord Jesus. Friends, let us not soon forget the powerful example of this faithful young woman.
A Suggestion for Further Reading…
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs – John Foxe, 1563
Documents of Lady Jane Grey: Nine Days Queen of England, 1553 – James Taylor, 2004