He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)
Many of you know that that September 16th is POW/MIA Recognition Day.
In his book Captive Warriors– A Vietnam POW’s Story, Congressman Sam Johnson relates how God sustained him through the long captivity of torture, pain, and starvation that he had to endure. He was isolated from other prisoners in a three foot by nine foot cement cell.
Sam experienced great loneliness and could have given up in despair. Instead, he gave his all to the Lord—he put all his fears, anxieties and feelings of isolation into the Lord’s hands. When he thought he could no longer stand the isolation, he felt the Lord’s presence surround him. This gave Sam renewed strength and courage to go on. He became more the more resolved to resist the enemy and not give up.
Sam says he never would have made it without God by his side. He said he thought of his family all the time and hoped they were okay. His wife, Shirley, didn’t know for two and a half years that he was anything but MIA — missing in action. Finally she was told that Sam was a POW. He was released on February 12, 1973, after 7 years of captivity.
Sam’s story, and so many others like his, remind us that whatever difficulties we are facing in our lives, we do not have to give up. We do not have to lose faith. We do not have to surrender. Our Lord is with us to sustain us and strengthen us if we but release our concerns to him. We need to memorize the bible verse for today, and claim its promise. The bible verses for today are the ones that Sam relied on the most to get through his time as a POW.
My Lord and my God, be with those who endured captivity and made it home. Be also with those who must continue to endure as prisoners. Uphold them with your mighty hand, and encourage their families. And may I learn from their examples. Amen.