Light shines in the darkness

Daily reports following the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria are heart-breaking. Pictures of collapsed buildings and devastated communities, as well as the growing death toll and desperate plight of survivors made homeless in sub-zero temperatures are overwhelming. The situation in Syria is even more desperate as the Syrian government, their international allies and local militias refuse to allow free access for specialist rescue teams and urgent medical supplies. No wonder the people are asking why has no-one come to help us?

News of people being brought out alive from the rubble lifts the spirits of the local people and rescue teams. One example was the remarkable survival of 10-day-old baby Yagiz and his mother, who were pulled alive from the rubble 90 hours after their home was reduced to ruins. Yagiz had spent almost half his life under slabs of concrete. Sadly, his mother had to be strapped to a stretcher because her injuries left her unable to walk.

Another mother and her three young children were rescued after being entombed in a multi-storey building in Antalya for 108 hours. All four were battered, bruised, and severely dehydrated but, somehow, had clung to life. The rescue team put all four on spinal stabilisation stretchers because of the extent of their injuries, but they had all survived their terrifying ordeal thanks to the skill and courage of their rescuers.

Christian Pastor Hasan and his wife, Pola, died on the first day. On the Sunday, not knowing that this would be his last sermon, Pastor Hasan had preached on the resurrection of the dead, reminding his congregation of their living hope in Jesus. His message was a preparation for the terrible events of the next day. At the graveside Joel, their 9-year-old son, prayed, “Lord, you took them out of this evil world, a world which is getting constantly worse. Today they are in a safe place. Today they are in a good place, together with you, Lord. For that reason, I thank you. However much I thank you, it is never enough. We are in sorrow, but we will rejoice because they are happy. I thank you, Lord, that I will see them soon. Dear Father, I thank you for taking them to yourself. I know how much you love them. That’s why you took them to be with you, so that they wouldn’t have pain. We love you, Father. We can never thank you enough for your mercy which took them to be with you above.”

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