I thought of Louis Zamperini when I read Paul’s words:
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13, 14 (NASB)
To and from Oregon, Mark and I listened to the audio version of Unbroken, the story of the resilience and courage of Louis Zamparini, Olympic runner and WWII POW. We listened to 11 CD’s and wished there were more.
Powerful. Enthralling. Inspiring. Nail-biting stories of sharks and gunfire and beatings. Always more beatings. How much could one man take? Mark’s conclusion: “Most would not survive.”
Louis survived. Why?
Was it only because he was tough and Italian and wouldn’t back down? Certainly, Louis had something to do with it. Most would give up. Many had no choice. Louis almost died many times.
But for God.
Out in a raft, starving, thirsty, depressed–he cried out to God, “If You save me I will serve You with my whole life.”
We call those “foxhole prayers”–
“Lord, get me out of this foxhole alive and I will be Yours.” Your version probably doesn’t include a hole, a fox or sharks. It may include a hole of your own making:
“Lord, if you help me out of this stupid mess, I will serve You forever.”
What’s your mess, your hole, your exigency, your disaster, your circling shark of sin? Would you promise your life if you got free?
Louie got rescued. Not as fast as I would’ve liked, but then where would the story be? A quick answer isn’t always the best answer. Unless you’re the one being starved, beaten, encircled.
Years later, after suffering from nightmares and bitterness and alcoholism, Louie made good on his promise. He met God at a Billy Graham revival and remembered his bargain. He didn’t look back. Real rescue commenced and life began — away from his inner captor; the Enemy of his soul finally vanquished.
I love how Boa writes this familiar passage, Colossians 1:13, in the first person:
“For You have rescued me from dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of Your beloved Son.” (Face to Face, Vol.II)
And in The Living Bible:
“For he has rescued us out of the darkness and gloom of Satan’s kingdom and brought us into the Kingdom of his dear Son.”
And in The Message:
“God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.”
Needing rescue? From sins we’re doomed to keep repeating? It’s yours for the asking; your life for the giving.
Unbroken, the movie, comes out Christmas day. Pray now for tender hearts to hear the message of redemption rescue.