Unbroken – (A Moment of Pain)
Main Point: Glory doesn’t come without sacrifice…ever. If we want to share in God’s glory, we will have to be willing to make painful sacrifices.
The Movie Clip:
Unbroken tells the amazing story of Louis Zamperini, a troubled teen turned Olympic runner turned World War 2 POW survivor. “Zamp” as he was called throughout school, his military service, and his adult life, is a testament to human fortitude and endurance, both physically and mentally.
During childhood, Louis got into trouble at every turn. Fortunately, his older brother Pete, an athlete, discovered that Louis was a terrific runner, and coached him through high school all the way to the 1936 Olympics. Zamp’s dream of running in the 1940 Olympics in Tokyo was shattered when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, bringing the United States, and Zamperini, into the Second World War.
On a rescue mission over the Pacific Ocean, Zamp’s own rickety plane malfunctioned and crashed into the blue abyss. He, along with two others, survived the impact; they spent several weeks drifting at sea before being taken prisoner by the Japanese.
During his stay in various prisoner of war camps, Zamp was tested physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He was treated horribly, beaten often, and subjected to cruelty beyond imagination. But he survived the entire ordeal to go on to live a life that brought God tremendous glory!
His story of continual sacrifice and victory over the fiercest odds is a compelling one for all of us today.
Introducing the Clip:
I want to show you a clip from the inspiring movie Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamaprini’s life. Several of you may know that “Zamp” was a troubled kid who found out he could run like a gazelle, and focused his energies on running for trophies instead of running from the police. He competed in the 1936 Olympics and would have run in the 1940 Olympics, too, but he along with thousands of others were called upon to fight in the brutal conflict known as World War 2. The scene I’m going to show you is before Louis runs in the 1936 Olympics. It’s before he’s in the war. It’s before his plane crashes at sea leaving him stranded in a life raft for weeks on the surface of the Pacific Ocean. It’s before he’s taken prisoner by the Japanese and beaten, harassed, and tortured. It’s before Zamp had much of anything to brag about in life. This scene takes place at the train station as Zamp is heading off to the 1936 Olympics. Take a listen to what his older brother Pete had to say to him.
The Video Clip:
The clip for this resource can be found online at the following link:
Based on the clip we just watched, it seems like Louis was a determined young man. One of the runners tried to hurt him with his running spikes, but Louis kept pushing forward and actually won the race! That’s the kind of determination and spirit that got Louis to the 1936 Olympics – and through so many other trials in life, including World War 2, being lost at sea, and interred in a prisoner of war camp at the hands of some cruel Japanese torturers. It’s just like Pete said to Louis at the train station: a moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory. Louis certainly invested many, many moments of pain, but his life was a legacy to the glory of God, as well. If you could ask Louis, he’d say it was more than worth it. Let’s spend a few minutes talking about our own moments of pain we endure for the glory of God.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and whether or not you’ve ever competed in a track and field event.
- ASK A FEW: You may know nothing about Louis Zamperini, but based on this clip, what words would you use to describe him?
- ASK A FEW: What did Pete say to Louis as he boarded the train? What does that mean?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think Louis believed what Pete said? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: Do you believe it’s true – is a moment of pain really worth a lifetime of glory? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: Do you know anyone who has endured a “moment of pain” for a “lifetime of glory”?
- ASK A FEW: Are YOU willing to invest a moment of pain for a lifetime of glory? Why or why not?
Read the following passage:
Romans 8:12-21 NLT
So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family– calling him “Father, dear Father.” 16 For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we will share his treasures– for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. 18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God’s curse. 21 All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.
Louis’ story is such an impressive one that many of us may feel overwhelmed just reading it or hearing it. But it’s all true. Olympic athlete. War veteran. POW survivor. Loving husband and father. Devoted Christian. All of that came with a price tag…but it was a price Louis was willing to pay. He knew, like his brother told him, there is no glory without pain.
But Louis’ story is not the only story of pain-turned-glory. In fact, it’s not even the best. There’s a far better story of a Man’s sufferings that led to glory…the glory of God. Let me read it to you from Philippians 2:5-11.
- Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. 7 He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. 8 And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
There’s one thing I’m completely confident of: God has never wasted a single act of sacrifice in the history of His Kingdom. That means, whatever you want to offer Him, He’s willing to use for His glory.
In short, don’t be afraid to make sacrifices for God. He made sacrifices for you! Huge sacrifices, in fact! And, the good news is, every single time you’re willing to make a sacrifice for Him, it brings Him glory. That’s reason enough to endure a little bit of pain for the moment.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.