It was a soldier’s worst nightmare. Howard Rutledge was flying his fighter plane in the middle of a heated dogfight. Suddenly his plane exploded and began spinning wildly out of control. Frantically he reached for the cord to eject from the plane but the erratic spinning and rapid descent made it nearly impossible. After several wild attempts he managed to latch onto the handle and pull. His seat ejected and his parachute deployed. For the first time in years he thanked the Lord as he gently descended to the earth among the mayhem.
But his relief was short-lived. As he neared the ground he realized he was landing in a field close to the enemy. As soon as he hit the ground he was surrounded and outnumbered by angry villagers who had watched his descent. They attacked him, stripped him down and carried him off to a Prisoner of War compound.
in the prison camp would forever mark his life. It was more horrific than he could have ever
imagined. For seven years he endured
agonizing starvation, repeated torture and worst of all—isolation. The hard
part was never knowing when or even if his misery was going to end. But in this dark
season of the soul Howard discovered a gold mine of truth.
“The sights and sounds and smells of death were all around me. My hunger for spiritual food soon outdid my hunger for a steak…I had completely neglected the spiritual dimension of my life. It took prison to show me how empty life is without God, and so I had to go back in my memory to those Sunday-school days in Tulsa, Oklahoma.”
Howard came to realize that his hunger for spiritual food was not just his own. In the brief seconds that prisoners passed each other between cells they would quickly exchange verses of Scripture or parts of hymns. One day a fellow prisoner remembered the story of Ruth and Naomi. It was if they had been given a gourmet feast as Howard the others fed off this story for days, meditating on those precious words. Together the prisoners formed a “living Bible” as they worked to piece together what they remembered from memory.
“How I struggled to recall those Scriptures and hymns! I had spent my first eighteen years in a Southern Baptist Sunday school, and I was amazed at how much I could recall. Regrettably, I had not seen then the importance of memorizing verses from the Bible, or learning gospel songs. Now, when I needed them, it was too late. I never dreamed that I would spend almost seven years (five of them in solitary confinement) in a prison…or that thinking about one memorized verse could have made the whole day bearable.
One portion of a verse I did remember was, ‘Thy word have I hid in my heart.’ How often I wished I had really worked hard to hide God’s Word in my heart… Remember, we weren’t playing games. The enemy knew that the best way to break a man’s resistance was to crush his spirit in a lonely cell.... All this talk of Scripture and hymns may seem boring to some, but it was the way we conquered our enemy and overcame the power of death around us.”Download Your Copy of - Scripture Memorization Made Possible: Moving Beyond Rote to Memorize Large Portions of the Bible
Read The Books That's Turning Heads As Well As Pages
Click The Book Covers To Get Reading Today!