Downey-Florence Seventh-day Adventist Church

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     Ten years ago (1989), an 8.2 earthquake almost flattened Armenia, killing over 30,000 people in less than four minutes. It's hard to imagine the anguish, the pain, and the suffering that began in those four brief minutes of time -- people's worlds were shaken and lives crushed. In spite of the devastation, such tragedies often bring out the best in people -- at least it provides a window to peak at the contents of each heart. Let me show you the loving heart of one father.

     In the midst of chaos and destruction, he rushed to his son's school. But instead of a school, he found a shapeless heap of rubble. Imagine what went through his mind. What would have gone through your mind? Perhaps, shock would have crippled you as it did the other parents who were walking around dazed, clutching at their hearts and callingout their child's name. But in the case of this father, the sight of rubble and ruin only made him spring into action. He ran to the back corner of the building where his son's class room used to be and began to dig. Why? What real hope did he have? What were the chances that his son could have survived such destruction? All he knew was that he had made a promise to always be there for his son. It was this promise that gave strength to his body and motivated him mentally.

     As he began to dig, well-meaning parents tried to pull him out of the rubble saying: "It's too late!" "They're dead!" "You can't help!" "Go home!" "There's nothing you can do!" The fire chief tried to pull him off the rubble by saying, "Fires and explosions are happening everywhere. You're in danger. Go home!" Finally, the police came and said, "You're angry, distraught, but it's over. Go home." But this father had made a promise, and he was going to keep it!

     The love this father had in his heart for his son kept him digging for eight . . . 12 . . . 24 . . . 36 hours. Then, in the 38th hour, he pulled back a boulder and heard his sons' voice crying for help. Immediately, he screamed, "ARMAND!" Back came the words, "Dad!? I told them! I told the other kids that if you were still alive, you'd save me! You promised me, you said you'd always be there for me! You did it, dad!

     A determined father, a promise kept, and a stone rolled away to reveal life and give freedom. The story of Armand's dad reminds us of the events of that first Easter when our Heavenly Father kept a greater promise by rolling away a much more significant stone. With the rolling away of that stone, came eternal life, and true lasting freedom in Christ! And you know what? Our Heavenly Father is still in the business of rolling away stones.

     What are the stones in your life? It doesn't matter how big or small they may be, our Father is looking for you right now. He's looking through the rubble and the ruin of lives not lived for Him, and He wants to roll away your stone of despair, your rock of remorse, your bolder of bondage. May you remember, or perhaps even discover for the first time, that our God has made the greatest promises ever made, and He is abundantly able to keep them all, just as He kept that very special promise to His own Son some two thousand years ago.

     Acts 13:37-38 "But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay. Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you."

By: Grant MacDonald

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