October 7, 2018

Conquering the Darkness, part 1

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”-- Mark 4:39 (KJV)

“Peace, be still (be healed),” which may translate as “Shalom, rafa” in Hebrew. Those are important words when trying to calm the Sea of Galilee. This body of water is on a fault line. It is prone to sudden tempests, including waves of up to fifteen feet in height.

No wonder the disciples were terrified when confronted with a squall. The Lord, on the other hand, stayed peaceful. He stood by the belief/knowledge that, no matter what happened, the boat would arrive safely at the opposite shore.

Faith in the Storms—for Us

If someone has been tossed about on huge waves for a long time, it’s next to impossible to believe in calm waters. A person can even forget what calmness feels like.

Life can seem out of control. God is still guiding us behind the scenes.

Unbroken: Path to Redemption (spoiler alert)

For the next two or three articles, I will explore themes from this excellent movie:. The first film, Unbroken, introduces the true story of Louis Zamperini. He is an Olympic track-and-field star. When World War 2 begins, he joins the Army Air Corps. 

Zamperini and his bomber crew get shot down and stranded for 47 days in the ocean. Louis ends up in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

The second movie (mentioned above) begins as Louis returns home after the war. Unsurprisingly, the war hero battles Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and self-doubt.

God Guides us Always

Zamperini is full of anger and confusion when he returns to the U.S. He turns to alcohol to mask the pain. Three blows add to his sorrow:
  • Olympic hopes are shot down when he hurts his leg
  • Can’t find a decent job
  • New wife, Cynthia, is considering divorce.

How could the war hero possibly move forward? He couldn’t in his own strength, but with God, he was able. Zamperini was led to a successful Plan B.

Louis had stopped believing in God, but his wife hadn’t. Zamperini finally accepted Cynthia’s invitation to fully embrace Christianity. He met Billy Graham and became an evangelist and motivational speaker. He also stopped drinking cold turkey.

My Conclusion

Footprints in the Sand (as seen on sapphyr.net)

One night I had a dream.
I dreamed I was walking along the beach
with the Lord..

Across the sky flashed scenes from my life..
For each scene, I noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand,
one belonging to me, and the other to the Lord..

When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life.

This really bothered me
and I questioned the Lord about it:
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why
when I need you most you would leave me."

The Lord replied:
"My precious child, I love you and would
never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints, it was then
that I carried you."

by Mary Stevenson (The original author and copyright of this poem are under dispute.)

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