I love to read, but my favorite genre is World War II – memoirs, historical fiction, all of it. Female spies, concentration camps, Russian female snipers, British code breakers, German mid-wives, Auschwitz tattooists, etc.
While ago I saw the movie Unbroken and was haunted by it for a long time. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, it’s about the one-mile Olympian Louie Zamperini. He joins the Air Force and ends up going down during a search mission for another lost crew. He and a crewman survive on a raft for 47 days, is captured by the Japanese and is in several different POW camps from July 1943 until September 1945. After being liberated, he battled against alcoholism, anxiety and PTSD. After so much suffering for 24 hours a day, for years on end, Louie couldn’t find his way back from the war.
After getting married and then nearly divorced, Louie’s wife convinces him to attend Billy Graham speaking event. The first night he got up and left. The second time, God took hold of his heart. God reminded Louie of a moment on the raft, during a big ocean storm, when Louie asked God to spare him and that in return, he’d give his life to God. Louie did just that. He walked out of the speaking event a changed man; went home and dumped all of his alcohol down the drain. His life was instantly and radically changed. The rest of his years until his death at the age of 97 were spent enjoying life to the fullest. He told people about Jesus, ministered to and forgave his POW captors after returning to Japan, and continued to run well into his 80s. His life was changed by Jesus and indeed those years of captivity were redeemed in an unexpected testament to the power of Jesus and the peace and forgiveness that He offers.
What this shows is that God redeems seemingly unredeemable situations and people. There are stories all around us of how people walked away from God or maybe didn’t know Him in the first place; they seem so far gone, how could God possibly draw them back to Himself? Or maybe there’s a diagnosis, a life-altering decision or a circumstance that takes our life down a path that we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves.
No matter what you are facing, Jesus has the power to redeem it. He loves to meet with broken people, like the Samaritan woman at the well. He loves to meet with people who think that they don’t necessary need him, like the rich young ruler. He loves to heal people who don’t expect anything, like the captain’s daughter.
Psalms 68:19-20 says “Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day, He carries us in His arms. Our God is a God who saves! The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death.”
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