Life was normal for the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere – as normal as life can be for those living in dire poverty. Normal until 4:53pm local time, January 12th, 2010. That’s when it struck and it struck hard. The catastrophic 7.0 earthquake brought down police stations and prisons, schools and shopping centers, homes and buildings of all types. Two million people were left homeless.
Buildings, homes and huts can be replaced and roads can be rebuilt. Businesses can be revived and society will recover. But loved ones lost can never be replaced, restored or returned. When the final count is made, over 200,000 loved ones may have perished as a result of the earthquake. Incalculable losses that can never be restored.
The scenes of destruction and the images of horror flooded the media. The faces of terrified and grief stricken people dominated news stories for days. As rescue crews from around the world feverishly worked day and night to remove slabs of concrete and mounds of rubble, every person rescued became a story for the world to appreciate.
As days passed, hope faded that others could be rescued. It was now over seven days since the devastating quake. Rescue workers worked through the rubble of a collapsed three story building that housed a supermarket in their final search for survivors. Finding only bodies they left the scene but a mother and father believed their children were still alive under the concrete.
At 5PM, members of the New York Urban Search and Rescue Task Force returned to the rubble of the collapsed building. Using a pole camera they managed to get through three major slabs of concrete in search of signs of life. Kiki and Sabrina, siblings, had been trapped in a pocket beneath the concrete for more than seven long days.
Some used jackhammers and others used saws. Some carried the debris away in buckets, as they worked taking great care not to destabilize the rubble and crush the kids. It was an agonizingly slow process. Eventually Sabrina, 10, was able to be extracted through a hole created. But Kiki, 8, after more than seven days trapped in terrifying darkness pulled back in fear.
The rescue crew brought Kiki’s mother to encourage him to allow the men to pull him out. The images of that moment of freedom will never be forgotten. As he came through the hole, out of the darkness into Haiti’s daylight, he instantly flung open his arms wide with delight and flashed the unforgettable smile of freedom.
Photographer Matthew McDermott, of considerable fame, snapped a picture of that miracle moment. He said: “I grabbed my camera and snapped perhaps the most memorable shot of my career. Kiki’s smile will live with me forever.” (1)
Why did Kiki give such an exuberant smile? “I smiled because I was free – I smiled because I was alive.” (2)
Spiritual Life Lessons
There was a spiritually catastrophic earthquake in the early history of the human race. Genesis 3 relates the story of how our first father and mother rebelled against God – their Creator. The consequences were devastating and instant. Spiritually the human race was plunged into the darkness of sin. Sin introduced into this once perfect world: tears, suffering, pain, emptiness, loneliness, heartaches, and great sorrow. Death in every sphere of our universe can be traced back to the introduction of sin into the human family.
“Through one man sin entered into the world,
and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men,
for that all sinned.”
The Bible says the entire universe is ‘groaning’ as a result of sin. (Romans 8:22)
There is a vivid word picture in Romans that portrays every person in the human family, being trapped underneath the heavy slab of sin.
“They are all under sin;
as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one…”
Sin is a crushing burden that, by nature, has trapped every single person. Without a rescuer we will perish in the darkness of our sin and beneath its heavy burden. We have no power to remove the slab of sin from off us. People’s best efforts can only bring about modest outward improvements but their inner self remains dark.
Just like rescuers from around the world arrived in Haiti to physically rescue those who were trapped and perishing, the Lord Jesus Christ came to this planet on the greatest Rescue Mission of all times.
Jesus went to the Cross to deal with the staggering problem of our sin. By taking the penalty for our sins on the Cross, helpless individuals can now be freed from the burden and the bondage of their sins.
For while we were still weak,
at the right time
Christ died for the ungodly….
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.
The very moment you surrender and stop resisting Christ will save you. He will call you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1Peter 2:9)
Kiki flashed a thrillingly broad smile as he flung open his arms to celebrate his freedom. Every sinner who is rescued from darkness and brought out into God’s marvelous light and freedom, experiences a deliverance they will never forget throughout the eternal ages. It was their special moment of spiritual deliverance.
If you do not have such a moment of rescue, then you are still under the slab of sin trapped in darkness.
Allow the Rescuer Jesus Christ to set you free.
If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
To see the video of Kiki’s rescue click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAj2v9sz9ms