Mark Victor Hansen shares this story in one of the Chicken Soup For the Soul books.
In 1989 an 8.2 earthquake struck Armenia, killing over 30,000 people in less than four minutes. In the midst of utter devastation and chaos, a father left his wife securely at home and rushed to the school where his son was supposed to be, only to discover that the building had been flattened as a pancake. After the traumatic initial shock, this man remembered the promise he had made to his son: “No matter what, I’ll always be there for you!” And tears began to fill his eyes. As he looked at the pile of debris that once was the school, it looked hopeless, but he kept remembering his commitment to his son.
He began to concentrate on where he walked his son to school each morning. Remembering his son’s classroom would be in the back right corner of the building, he rushed there and started digging through the rubble. As he was digging, other forlorn parents arrived, clutching their hearts, saying, “My son!” “My daughter!” Other well-meaning parents tried pulling him off what was left of the school, saying: “It’s too late!” “They’re dead!” “You can’t help!” “Go home!” “Come on, face reality, there’s nothing you can do!” “You’re just going to make things worse!” To each parent, he responded with one line: “Are you going to help me now?” And then he proceeded to dig for his son, stone by stone.
The fire chief showed up and tried to pull him off the school’s debris, saying, “Fires are breaking out, explosions are happening everywhere. You’re in danger. We’ll take care of it. Please go home.” To which this loving, caring Armenian father asked, “Are you going to help me now?” The police came and said, “You’re angry, distraught, and it’s over. You’re endangering others. We’ll take care of it. Go home.” No one helped. Courageously, he proceeded alone because he needed to know for himself: “Is my boy alive, or is he dead?”
He dug for eight hours…12 hours…24, and 36 hours. Then, in the 38th hour, he pulled back a boulder and heard his son’s voice. The man screamed his son’s name, “Armand!” He heard back, “Dad? It’s me, Dad! 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, ‘No matter what, I’ll always be there for you!’ You did it, Dad!”
“There are 14 of us left out of 33, Dad. We’re scared, hungry, thirsty, and thankful you’re here. When the building collapsed, it made a wedge, like a triangle, and it saved us.” “Come on out, boy!” “No, Dad! Let the other kids come out first, because I know you’ll get me. No matter what, I know you’ll be there for me.”
As we celebrate Pentecost this weekend we are reminded of God's promises.
Jesus stood up and exclaimed, "Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. As Scripture says: Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me." He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive. There was, of course, no Spirit yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified. John 7:37-39
In the Old Testament the prophet Joel wrote of God's promise for the coming of His Spirit. "Thus says the LORD: I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh." Joel 3:1 Jesus made multiple references to the coming of the Spirit as John details in the above Gospel. Very specifically, during the Last Supper, Jesus promised the coming of the Advocate, "But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you." John 16:7
In Acts we see the promise kept: "And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim." Acts 2:1-4
Do you believe God keeps His promises? Do you believe that He once rolled back a boulder to free His Son? Do you believe in God's promise to send His Spirit? To us all? Just as young Armand waited for his Father to fulfill his promise, you and I can trust that God will keep His promise. No matter what. Be filled with the Holy Spirit!!!