When the movie "Unbroken" came out in the theaters ,I heard great reviews. I went and saw the movie and was equally impressed.
I had heard that the man in this story, Louis Zamperini, had come to know Christ. I didn't see anything about this in the movie. What I saw instead was Louis's strength to endure starvation, beatings, hard labor, sun exposure, isolation, lies, demeaning words, sleep deprivation, and much more.
I read the book and learned so much more. The best part had been left out.
So many other men in the same situation did not survive.
The few men whose bodies endured to the end of the war and returned home suffered post traumatic syndrome disorder. Nightmares, voices, sudden sounds...all tormenting their minds and drawing the survivors back to the prison camps.
Louis struggled with the same problems. He lashed out at his wife and others around him. His body and mind had been broken and he didn't know what to do.
One day Billy Graham held a rally in his town.
Louis's wife attended the meeting and asked Jesus into her heart. She asked Louis to come hear Billy speak. Reluctantly, Louis agreed.
Louis sat in the arena. Billy Graham's words zipped in and out of his head. It wasn't until Billy mentioned suffering and God's understanding of the sacrifice that Louis really heard Billy's words. Billy went on to present the Gospel to thousands of listening men and women, including Louis.
That night, Louis asked Jesus into his heart.
Before reading the book, I had reflected on the movie many times. I wondered how Louis managed to survive the torment of one particular Japanese officer, how he survived so many days on a raft with no food or water, how he found the courage to return to Japan and carry the Olympic torch years later.
Days after finishing the book it occurred to me that God had helped him survive.
Like Elijah worn, weary, and hungry, God sent an angel to nurse Elijah to health.
Like Paul, God healed him from the venomous snake bite to continue the missionary work.
Like so many others whom God helped live longer to complete the task. God knew Louis would ask Jesus into his heart that day in the arena. He knew Billy's words would touch Louis's heart. He knew Louis's wife would invite him to go.
God knew. And He gave Louis the strength to survive until that day.
God knows what job lays ahead for us. Who we'll impact. What we will do. He will help us accomplish whatever we've been called to do like He did Moses.
God loves you and has some really awesome plans for you. This does not mean that life will be sweet, good, or full of cheer. It might be. It might not be. Either way God will always love you and insure you will have the opportunity to do that special task.
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