I just finished reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. A friend had given me the book a few years ago, and I had it in my stack of books to read. I never have as much time to read as I’d like, so the book sat in my stack for awhile. When I heard the story was coming out as a movie last fall, I thought, I really need to read this now! I finally had a chance to get started on it a few months ago. It’s a great book, and I highly recommend it.
If you’re not familiar with the story, in a nutshell, it’s about Louie Zamperini, a boy who often got into trouble growing up. His brother Pete, hoping to help change that, suggested that Louie get involved with the school track team when he was 15. And so Louie discovered his love and gift for running–running well enough to participate in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Hoping to participate in another Olympics, plans changed when World War II began and Louie enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He miraculously survived when the bomber he was serving on crashed into the ocean. But the ill-equipped life raft he and two other men were on was not discovered for another 47 days–47 days of fighting off sharks, weathering storms, having very little to eat, and developing blistering sores from the strong sun and saltwater waves. Unfortunately for Louie and the second survivor (the third man had died), they were finally found, but by the Japanese forces–and were held as Prisoners of War, undergoing unimaginable suffering and hardship.
As I was reading Louie’s story, I just couldn’t imagine going through all the suffering that he did. But he never gave up–he always had hope. And he prayed. And God answered. One particular chapter told of how Louie and the other men, lost at sea on the raft, had gone without water for 6 days:
On the sixth day without water, the men recognized that they weren’t going to last much longer. Mac was failing especially quickly.
They bowed their heads together as Louie prayed. If God would quench their thirst, he vowed, he’d dedicate his life to Him.
The next day, by divine intervention or the fickle humors of the tropics, the sky broke open and rain poured down. Twice more the water ran out, twice more they prayed, and twice more the rain came. The showers gave them just enough water to last a short while longer.
From Unbroken, end of Chapter 14
Louie would suffer many more hardships before the war finally ended. And even after the war ended. But with God’s help, he was able to endure and overcome them. You could say he ran his race well-very, very well.
Louie died on July 2, 2014, several months before the movie came out, at age 97.
I still haven’t seen the movie. Have you seen it or read the book?