Seeking and Saving the Buried

Encouragement for Your Heart and Mind from Pastor David Staff

As I write today (Wednesday), the death toll from Monday’s 7.5-7.8 magnitude twin-earthquakes in eastern Turkey and northwestern Syria has climbed to over 11,000 human beings.

Rescue teams worldwide have raced “to reach people buried under buildings. The U.S. Geological Survey has projected a possible death toll of up to 11,000 people, while a senior World Health Organization official said it could rise to more than 20,000” (WSJ, Feb. 7, 2023).  Beyond the quake, a major snowstorm is pummeling the area.  Airport runways are compromised.  Roads have disappeared.  Turkey’s president is begging the world for help.

It’s a race against time and conditions to rescue the dying, the trapped under layers of rock and earth, concrete and steel.

Men and women.  Young people and children.  The toll mounts.  Imagine every person today living in Canon City, Penrose, and Florence suddenly losing their lives in a matter of minutes.

8,000 have been pulled alive from the rubble.  A baby and her mother trapped for 29 hours.  Another woman stranded for 22 hours.  Yet another child buried for 18.  The searching continues.


Prompted by the Spirit, the Apostle Paul wrote it plainly to the Roman Christians.  In 8:21, he describes the physical creation as enslaved to deterioration, to corruption.  In 8:22, he hears creation lamenting (deep weeping, groaning) as it suffers the agony of dysfunction.  Of course, the world does evidence the beauty of an Artistic Creator.  But ever since Adam invited sin into his God’s gift of creation, the world itself is very broken, shockingly unpredictable and unsafe. Under the curse imposed by a holy God, nature itself often, and vividly, reminds us that sin destroys (cf. Genesis 3:17).  Our home is a fallen creation compromised and wrenching, violently crushing life.

When it does, people find themselves buried, tossed into utter helplessness.  Apart from outside intervention, they will die and be gone forever.

The image of God in us ignites sacrificial efforts of recovery.  Desperately clawing through rubble, rescuers mirror the selfless heart of a Savior, God who chose to became human.   Who willingly left his glory to dig through our gore.  A Savior relentlessly seeking, and saving, the buried, the trapped, the helpless, the lost.  And in so doing, to show us the actual heart of His Father.


May I urge you to watch the news?  Look at what videographers transmit back through our news stations.  Look long and linger over pictures of rescuers urgently scrabbling through the debris.  They call out, they dig, they strain to hear any sound of possible life.  At any possible signal, they burrow to save a soul.  

They are modeling our Lord’s heart for those under the earthquake of sin and rubble of sinfulness.  Even here, in our safe, stable community, there are hundreds, thousands, so buried.  Desperately needed is the rescue available through the gospel of life.  We follow a searching, digging, clawing Savior who  looks over his sweaty, dirt-stained shoulder to say, “Please!  Join me!!  Dig for the lost!!!”

Who near you – near me -- has a life that has been demolished by the earthquake of sin?  Are we praying that they might cry out for help?  And, are we willing to search and dig and pull someone out of the rubble?

“For the Son of Man (and his disciples) has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10)
See you Sunday morning!
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