Free At Last

One of my Christmas gifts was the book Unbroken. It is thecompelling of the life of Louis Zamperini.

The early life of Zamperini was one of hardship that led himto a life of juvenile delinquency; however, circumstance demanded a change, andchange he did.  He became an Olympicdistance runner who competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. 

It was thought that Louis would become the first man to runa mile in under 4 minutes, but that changed with the start of WW II.  Like many young men of that era, Zamperinisoon found himself among the ranks of the military.

The book traces Louis’ life from his crash in the Pacific tohis arduous 47 days afloat on a raft; and, his time as a POW.  As the subtitle says, Louis’ story is one of survival,resilience, and redemption.

After his post war life began to crumble and his marriagewas about to fail, redemption was Zamperini’s only hope.  His wife convinced him to attend a revivalwith her.  During the sermon, the youngevangelist, Billy Graham, said something that reminded Louis of a promise hehad made.

While he had been adrift on the raft and about to die of thirst,Louis had made a promise–He would serveheaven forever, if he could only be rescued. 

Louis can still remember what Graham said:  Whenpeople come to the end of their rope and there’s nowhere to turn, they turn toGod—no matter who they are. Louis thought: Yeah, I made thousands ofpromises on the raft and in prison camp. He kept His promises, but I didn’tkeep mine. Louis went to the prayer room and made a confession of faithin Christ, and said: While I was still on my knees, I knew mywhole life had changed.

On that life-changing day, Louis Zamperini discovered thetruth of 2 Corinthians 5:17:  ifanyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold,all things have become new.  Fromthat day to now Louis has kept the promise he made on that raft in 1943.  This bombardier, who nearly died in the saltyPacific, kept his promise and became the salt of the earth and the light of theworld.

When Louis experienced the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, hehad an overwhelming desire to forgive those who had tormented him while a POW.  The hatred that had filled him was gone andat last, Louis was finally free.

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