The September 11, 2002 issues of TIME magazine has a touching article about 31-year old Genelle Guzman. Genelle was the last of just four people caught in the debris of the Twin Towers to be found alive.
After the planes hit the World Trade Center, Genelle was descending a stair case from the 64th floor of the North Tower. Steel beams weakened to their breaking point. Solid concrete was pulverized. But somehow her body found an air pocket. Her right leg was pinned under heavy concrete pillars. Her head was caught between stacks of wreckage. But somehow she was still alive.
For twenty-seven hours Guzman lay trapped and seriously injured. In recent months before the attacks Genelle had started attending the church called Brooklyn Tabernacle, and wanted to get her life turned around. So while she was stuck in the rubble, she started to pray. She'd trail off into sleep -- wake up and pray some more.
Shortly after noon on Wednesday the 12th, she heard voices. So she screamed as loud as she could, "I'm here! HEY, I'M RIGHT HERE!" A rescue worker responded, "Do you see the light?" She did not. She took a piece of concrete and banged it against a broken stairway overhead--probably the same structure that had saved her life. The searchers found the noise. Genelle wedged her hand through a crack in the wall, and felt someone grab it. She heard a voice say, "I've got you," and Genelle Guzman said, "OH GOD, THANK YOU." It took 20 long minutes, and then she was saved.
In many ways, Genelle Guzman represents the plight of all people. We are buried under an enormous mess of spiritual black marks -- ways we have wronged our perfect God. The Bible calls these things sin. We have no hope of freeing ourselves. We are truly stuck. In need of rescue. But by admitting the need to be forgiven -- by reaching out and saying, "God, help me! I can't get out of this unless you save me," we can be confident that he hears and helps. That's what we remember that God reached down into the rubble and saved us by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
(From a sermon by Mark Elkins, Rejoicing Through Adversity, 8/17/2010)
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Chris Appleby on Oct 18, 2000
Those who are outside the people of God are in rebellion against Him and are therefore spiritually dead. But God makes them a free offer to bring them back to life. All that’s needed to receive all of the bounty that God offers is to believe his promise,