ON DECEMBER 7, 1988, AN EARTHQUAKE DEVASTATED THE NORTHWESTERN SECTION OF ARMENIA, KILLING AN ESTIMATED 25,000 PEOPLE.
In one small town, just after the earthquake, a father rushed to his son's school only to find that the school had been flattened. There was no sign of life.
But he had no thought of turning back. He had often told his son, "No matter what, I'll always be there for you when you need me!"
Though his prospects appeared hopeless, the father began feverishly removing rubble from where he believed his son's classroom had been. Other forlorn parents only wailed hopelessly…"My son!" or "My daughter!" Some told the father to go home, that there was no chance that any of the children could be alive. Yet, he replied: "I made my son a promise that I'd be there for him anytime he needed me. I must continue to dig."
Courageously, he worked alone; no one volunteered to help him. He simply had to know for himself: "Is my boy alive or is he dead?" Finding strength and endurance beyond himself, the faithful, loving father continued to dig...for 8 hours...12...24...36 hours. Then in the 38th hour, as he heaved away a heavy piece of rubble, he heard voices. "Armand!" he screamed.
A child's voice responded: "Dad! It's me...Armand!" Then, "I told the other kids not to worry. I told them that if you were alive, you'd save me, and when you saved me, they'd be saved. You promised you would always be there for me! You did it, Dad!"
Moments later, the dad was helping his son Armand and 13 more frightened, hungry, and thirsty boys and girls climb out of the debris. Free at last! When the building collapsed, these children had been spared in a tent-like pocket.
When the townspeople praised Armand's dad, his explanation was, "I promised my son, 'No matter what, I'll be there for you!'"
THE GREATEST RESCUE
Do you realize that God, the Heavenly Father, is in the rescue business? He has made the greatest effort possible to rescue us from a terrible plight. But unless we have a personal relationship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ, we have no hope of experiencing the benefit of his rescue— spending eternity with him in heaven! According to the Bible, our sin separates us from God: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), and “the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). This means separation from God forever.
But the Bible tells us that God “so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). He offers you the free gift of "eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). You cannot be saved through your own effort: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
God has already reached out in love to rescue you. Much like the father who rescued his son after the earthquake, God went to the limit to make a way out of the lost situation we all were in—“while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God’s sinless Son died on the cross and took the punishment our sins deserved! “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
To be saved from the condemnation our sin has placed us all in, you must agree with God that you have sinned and that your only hope for rescue is through Jesus Christ’s death…in your place! The Bible says “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Now, because of a Father’s love you can experience the ultimate salvation from an otherwise hopeless situation. Receiving Jesus by faith as your substitute places you into a loving, forgiven relationship with God as your Father, and with eternal life as your welcome gift into his family!