On February 12, 1554, Jane Grey (a 17-year-old young lady) was executed by order of Queen Mary. Jane had been queen herself, for just nine days, but Mary was the stronger political and royal power.
These two figures (Lady Jane Grey and Queen Mary) are important in history. Queen Mary was the Roman Catholic monarch who persecuted and killed so many English Protestants under her rule – that is why she earned the title “Bloody Mary.”
Lady Jane Grey is important to history and to us today because she reminds us of the importance of living every moment to God’s glory and with eternal things in mind. She, more than most, could have easily been distracted by the cares of this life… but her focus seems incredibly fixed on God’s promises and His trustworthiness in them.
Just hours before she was killed for her faith, and for the part she played in trying to maintain Protestantism in England, Lady Jane wrote these words to her sister.
“I have sent you, my dear sister Katherine, a book. On the outside, it is not trimmed with gold, but inside it is worth more than precious jewels. It is the book, dear beloved sister, of the law of the Lord. It is His testament and last will, which He left to us poor sinners, and it will lead you to the path of eternal joy. If you read it with a good mind and follow it with an earnest desire, it will bring you to an immortal and everlasting life. It will teach you how to live and how do die.
If you study diligently this book, using it as a guide for your life, you will inherit great riches that the covetous will never take from you, the thief will never steal, and the moth will never destroy…
Desire, sister, to understand the law of the Lord your God. Live to die, that by death you may enter into eternal life, and then enjoy the life that Christ has gained for you by His death.
Don’t think that just because you are now young your life will be long, because young and old die as God wills. As for my death, rejoice as I do, my dear sister, and consider that I shall be delivered of this corruption and put on incorruption, for I am sure that I will…
Farewell, my beloved sister. Put your trust only in God, for He alone can help you.”
Love for the Scriptures, trust in God’s promises, and an unshakable hope of eternal glory are inspiring and challenging traits.
May God raise up many Christians with these same convictions.