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Encouragement for tough times (A true story)

Updated: Jun 7

Psalm 91:14-16: “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!”

The year was 1988. A young father was driving his son to school. As they pulled up to the front gates, the father noticed the boy was anxious, so he said this, "Don't worry son, I will come back later to get you, I promise". The son smiled, and walked into his classroom.

The father pulled away in his car, heading towards his workplace. Then it happened. The road started to ripple in front of his car and buildings all around him began to sway. The father knew what was happening: it was an earthquake.

This was not your average earthquake though. It was a strong one. In fact, as we now know, it would kill 50,000 people and leave hundreds of thousands homeless.

In utter horror, the father turned his car around and drove as fast as he could back to the school. The site that greeted him was devastating. The very building he had seen his son walk into was no longer. It had collapsed into a pile of rubble.

In complete desperation, the father climbed and crawled over the rubble and started to dig. He could barely see through the tears in his eyes but for hours and hours he moved stone after stone.

At first, people came to the dad in concern. "Stop. This is too dangerous. You aren't equipped for this dig. What if you die and leave your wife not only without a son, but a husband too?"

He couldn't hear them. He kept digging. 6, 8, 10, 12, 24 hours passed. People started to bring him food and water in fear for his wellbeing with others digging with him until about the 28th hour, when the locals gave up hope: "Please stop now, your son is dead, you need to stop this".

The father refused. Believing he was now digging out of his grief, the locals left him to it.

Then 36 hours in, the exhausted, emotionally shattered father heard a noise from below the rocks. He screamed out as loudly as he could: "Please, come and help, I can hear something".

So, the locals came back. Together they removed the rubble until they had came to an exposed underground cave. That's when they saw them: 13 children and one teacher huddled together. One of those 13 children was the fathers son, who shouted:

"Dad, I told them you would come because you promised".

I have experienced times when it feels like my whole world has collapsed on top of me, and there is no way out. I am sure you have too. Perhaps you even feel that way now.

If so, let me encourage you by saying this. The story above is true. The dad in question was a human being, and he never stopped trying to rescue his son - even though it was dangerous, exhausting and extremely painful.

Here's what you need to understand. In Matthew 7:11 it says: 'If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!'

In other words, even though this father was imperfect - a sinner - he dug and dug and dug until he found his son. Nothing or nobody could stop him.

So, just imagine how much more God is doing to get you out of your suffering. He will never stop. He will dig even as you sleep and he won't stop until he reaches you.

So don't give up hope. He's coming for you, just as He promised.

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