One of the pilots of the famous Doolittle raid in which Tokyo was bombed in 1942 was captured, imprisoned and tortured. Despite nearly dying several times, Jacob De Shazer’s life was changed when he read the Bible after having waited six months for it to be shared around by his fellow inmates. His inspiring story stands as a testimony to the power of forgiveness.
De Shazer began to find favour with guards after treating them kindly and continued to pray for them and for peace. After the end of the war, moved by the plight of the Japanese without God, he returned there with his wife as a missionary. Having already distributed more than a million copies of his story, “I was a prisoner of the Japanese”, the door was open to two hundred speaking engagements in the first few months. This resulted in the establishment of many churches. One famous convert was Mitsuo Fuchida who had led the Pearl Harbour bombing and then became an international Christian preacher.
Forgiveness is hard to find, at times, especially when offences are real. But letting go and releasing ourselves into the hands of God can make something good come from the misfortunes of life. Such redemptive possibilities reflect the unconditional love that we find in getting off the throne and submitting to the lordship of Christ. And only God can know what will come from such yieldedness; who are we to withhold it from Him?