Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord: “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.” So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the Lord.” – Psalm 102:18-22
This is not my faith story, but one by which I am inspired.
I hope it inspires you too.
I recently read Laura Hillenbrand’s book Unbroken, a well-researched biography about Louis Zamperini. Zamperini was a trouble-maker in his youth and early adulthood. He was mentored by his older brother and developed a passion for running. The rest of Louis’ life resembles that of Forrest Gump. Louis seemed to be at all the places at all the times that made history. But this is no fairy tale. This is a God thing. From the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and meeting Adolph Hitler, to floating 47 days in the Pacific on a life raft, to surviving Japanese death camps for three years, to marrying a stunning girl, to a conversion at a Billy Graham tent revival in Los Angeles in 1949, to being on The Tonight Show at 95 years old, Louis’ life seems like a Hollywood movie.
Louis was a hero when he returned from the war. He was often asked to speak about his experiences. Talking about the war shook him. Louis turned to alcohol to deal with the post-traumatic stress he experienced. His wife was going to divorce him. She went to a Billy Graham revival in 1949 and changed her mind. The next night she drug him to the tent to listen. Louis thought about how, when he was floating on that raft in the Pacific Ocean, he said to the Lord, “God spare my life through the war, and I’ll seek you and serve you.” God must have seen Louis not as a runner or a war hero, but as a soldier for Christ. Why else would have Louis survived, fallen, and then been in the tent that night? Just as God has used Billy Graham to deliver the Gospel to the masses, Louis was called to preach the Gospel and to deliver a message of forgiveness to all who would listen, even his former captors.
God doesn’t call us all to be Olympians and war heroes. However, we are on this earth for a reason. Until that reason is fulfilled, God will not forsake us on our journey.
Please God, Break the chains that imprison me. Lead me, guide me, and use me in any way you wish to make disciples for Christ. Amen.