Rick Ezell shares this story: Everett Alvarez Jr. was the first American pilot shot down over North Vietnam on August 5, 1964. He spent eight and a half years as a prisoner of war, the first one and a half in solitary confinement. He was beaten and tortured.

His darkest hour came after seven years in prison. On Christmas Day 1971, his captors let him read a letter from his mother that said his wife had left him.

Alvarez emerged from captivity with a new spirit. He remarried soon after his release in February 1973. He earned a law degree in night school. He held two senior political posts in the Reagan administration. In 1988, he started Conwal Inc., the executive management consulting firm that employs more than 200 people and pulls in more than $15 million a year.

In an interview, he said, “The hardest part was being alone. I used to do a lot of talking. I talked to God, and I realized I wasn’t really alone.” He scratched a cross outside his hut. Christian faith does not deny the problems and challenges of life. It does not turn away from reality, but it understands that beyond the realities of this world, a greater reality exists. (One Minute Uplift newsletter, www.rickezell.net)

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