Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

WK-AV921_COVER__DV_20101110182743One of the more remarkable stories of World War II, was chronicled in Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.  This book by Laura Hillenbrand tells the compelling story of the life of Louis Zamperini.

As I was thinking about the events of this week, I reflected on Zamperini’s life which underwent a dramatic change when Louis’ plane crashed into the Pacific ocean.   As the subtitle of the book says, Louis’ story is one of survival, resilience, and redemption.

  • He survived 47 days afloat on a raft in the Pacific ocean
  • His resilience enabled him to make it through his POW experience
  • He found redemption after his post war life began to crumble and his marriage was about to fail

Over the course of his life, Zamperini experienced several life-changing events.  Perhaps the most important change occurred  when his wife convinced him to attend a revival being conducted by a young evangelist named Billy Graham.

During the sermon, Louis was reminded of a promise he had made while adrift on the raft and about to die of thirst.  Louis had promised od that he would serve heaven forever, if he could only be rescued.

The heart of Louis was stirred when Graham said:  “When people come to the end of their rope and there’s nowhere to turn, they turn to God—no matter who they are.” Louis thought to himself: “I made thousands of promises on the raft and in prison camp. He kept His promises, but I didn’t keep mine.”   Louis went to the prayer room and made a confession of faith in Christ, and said: “While I was still on my knees, I knew my whole life had changed . . . I felt this perfect calm, a peace. The Bible calls it the peace that passes all understanding. I knew then that I was through getting drunk, smoking, and chasing around. I also knew I’d forgiven all my prison guards.”

Louis Zamperini discovered the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:17:  If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  Through this verse, Louis learned the power of redemption and forgiveness.  He also realized that God was giving him a second chance to keep his promise and to make the most of his life.

Why not give God the chance to change you through a second chance?

 

Note: Zamperini was 97 when he died in July of this year.

Is It Break-Time?

chillinIs it time to chill out? Do all of your technological conveniences have you tied in knots? Research by Microsoft has found that on an average day, most people will “send and receive more than 100 emails, check their phone 34 times, visit Facebook 5 times and spend at least 30 minutes communicating with other posters (Alex Soojung-Kim Pang).”

A day of such multitasking strains your brain, and it needs a break so it can rejuvenate. Researchers suggest there is evidence that a “nature break” may be the answer, and exposure to natural environments can offer restorative benefits.

Dr. Wallace Nichols believes proximity to water can lead to improved performance and reduce anxiety. Wallace also encourages people to take water breaks: “Consuming enough water is a requirement of healthy brain function. Even mild dehydration can affect the brain structures responsible for attention, psychomotor and regulatory functions, as well as thought, memory, and perception.“

All of this talk about water reminds of what Jesus said: “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

After reading the importance of taking a “nature” break,” I’ve gained a fresh perspective on Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake . . .”

The “nature break” language of this Psalm may be one reason it’s a favorite of so many people. Next time you need a chill break, drink a little water, read a chapter out of the good book, and God might just “restore your soul.”