Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, remains one of the all-time favorite biographies that I have ever read.
A story of relentless courage and strength, the book captivates its readers through the details of the amazing life and legacy of Louis “Louie” Zamperini, an American olympian-turned-war-hero. Louie survived in a raft for 47 days after a plane crash in WWII only to be captured by the Japanese and sentenced to a prisoner-of-war camp where he fought hard to survive for over 2 years.
As I read the book, what I found most amazing about Louie’s story was the relentless love and power of Christ in his life. In the video below, you can hear directly from Louis Zamperini himself about God’s unrelenting pursuit of him. This is from the 1958 San Francisco Billy Graham Crusade (you can fast-forward to 4:00 minutes to hear his testimony):
I’m looking forward to seeing the movie Unbroken which releases this year on Christmas Day. I do hope Louie’s faith is portrayed in the film, as it certainly is displayed in the book and in the legacy he leaves behind.
Glory to God for His saving grace!
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This holiday season, I am reminded of how God answers prayer and often grants us the desires of our hearts in what he ordains.
A Daughter’s Prayer and a Daddy’s Desire
My oldest daughter wanted a dog. She asked us numerous times if we would be willing to get one for the family and numerous times we told her, “Sorry Love, we’re not a pet family.”
Laura and I had come to this unfortunate conclusion years prior when we reluctantly found a new home for our seriously-hyper beagle named Charlie.
Charlie was a great dog – until we had kids. Then, he must have felt completely de-throned by toddlers because he started acting up in every way imaginable: knocking the kids down upon our arrival home, stealing food out of the their tiny little hands, shredding dirty diapers all over the floor.
These were just a few of the penalties in a host of other infractions that piled up against poor Charlie until we finally said enough is enough and found a new home for him with an elderly couple down the street (they were thrilled to have him, our house became more peaceful, and we were still able to visit with him from time to time until we moved).
Nearly ten years later, my daughter was sweetly and consistently communicating a heartfelt desire to have a dog. The truth was, I wanted her to have her desire, but I also didn’t want to go through what we had experienced in the past. So, I thought hard about it and at the dinner table one night I said, “You’re welcome to pray for a dog, sweetheart, but here’s what would have to happen:
In short, it would probably have to be a labradoodle that’s good with kids and is given to us by someone willing to watch the dog when we travel.”
Delays Are Not Denials
There it was. I had laid down the law, but with just enough room for an 11 year old to pray about it if the desire persisted. My daughter took her desire and took this list to the Lord. She prayed about it and then began to petition God and others for a dog (literally, she created a petition and took it to school and to church, asking people to sign it to support her desire for a dog – somehow, she even got my signature on the list).
Fast forward several weeks.
My wife and I had met a wonderful family through basketball and gymnastics. Our kids got along extremely well, and Laura invited their family to church. They came to Redeeming Grace Church and our friendship began to grow.
One night, we had them over for dinner at our house. As we were hearing their stories and the dynamics of their home life with 5 kids under the age of 10, they began to share that they had 2 labradoodles and they were looking for a home for one of them. The dog they were trying to find a new home for, Tulip, was hypoallergenic, great with kids, housebroken, crate-trained, and would be free to a great family who would love her (they were even willing to watch her when a family traveled).
Needless to say, I was intrigued and wondered if this might be an answer to my daughter’s prayers. As it turns out, it was an answer to prayer, a blessing for their family and a blessing to us.
We have now had Tulip for several months, and she has been wonderful. I am absolutely convinced that God hears and answers the prayers of His people.
“Hast thou not seen
How thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what he ordaineth?” Praise to the LORD, the Almighty
Spurgeon says this so well:
“I am constantly witnessing the most unmistakable examples of answers to prayer. My entire life is made up of them. They are so common that they no longer surprise me. I could no more doubt the power of prayer than I could disbelieve the law of gravity. For more than forty years, I have tested my Master’s promises at the mercy seat, and I have never been repulsed. In the name of Jesus, I have asked and received. It is true that I have had to wait because my time was ill-judged and God’s time was far better. But delays are not denials… God answers the supplications of His believing people.”
Charles Spurgeon, Beside Still Waters, page 211 – “Ask And It Will Be Given”
Believer, God hears your prayers!