A Crack of Light – Service | Sacrifice

Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 in Military Prayer | Comments Off on A Crack of Light – Service | Sacrifice

The Prayers of a Prisoner of War

Captain Eugene “Red” McDaniel spent six year as a POW in the infamous Hanoi Hilton.  His book, Scars and Stripes, describes the weeks of torture, beatings, electric shock, broken bones, and despairing of life.  Captain McDaniel writes such vivid accounts, there is no need for further commentary:

“During the long night hours, through the endless months of captivity, I learned to pray, drawing on the goodness of God as my strength to face each new crack of light that meant another day.  Praying gave me sleep, as well, the only time when I was completely free of the tension of captivity.”

“I remembered back in Heartbreak Hotel in Hanoi in 1967, at the height of my three-day torture, hearing church bells coming from somewhere in downtown Hanoi.  I remembered hearing them at the very height of my pain and darkness then.  I remembered then how it seemed that God was saying something to me in those soft bells, that he was not far away from me, that there was no pain or darkness so great that He would be outside it.  I remembered what that had meant then, the hope it had given me, the renewed will to hang on.

“I couldn’t come out of [eight days of] torture with oozing pus all over my body, and I was not “allowed” to die either; they were pushing me as far as they could without allowing me to succumb.  This face-saving was maddening, but beyond that I knew God had to be in that too, and it gave me a new view of things—they weren’t out of control now, and whatever they were doing was subject as much to Him as their own sense of personal image…That Friday night I slept for the first time in a week.  I was mistaken to think the interrogations were over or even the torture.  But, as I slept, it was a sleep of assurance—God was not far outside this hell.  If I had to go on with this nightmare, then I was sure He was with me.  Nothing else mattered.”

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