Saturday, January 23, 2010, hours after Haitian officials called off search and rescue efforts, volunteers found a survivor. Eleven days after the magnitude 7 earthquake destroyed Port-au-Prince, rescuers removed Wismond Exantus from the wreckage of the hotel where he worked. Inquired about his survival, Wismond said he lived on “Coca-Cola and tiny little things” he found in the cramped remains of the hotel grocery store where the earthquake trapped him.
Mr. Exantus remained alive 11 days. His amazing rescue occurred only a few hours after workers were giving up hope of finding anyone else alive. I do not know how he continued to live even, while those trapped with him apparently expired days ago. Maybe he thought of reasons to survive. Maybe he continued to trust in the hope of rescue. He did have family members who were looking for him, there is the possibility that he knew they would not give up.
When we read through Scripture the tragedy of mankind is not only apparent, but also expected; Job says, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1). The apostle penned, “. . . our outer self is wasting away . . .” (2 Cor 4:16). There is a depressing thought in both of those verses; If we live long enough we will face tragedy.
How do we wrestle with the sad events of life? How do we face tragedy?
In one word: HOPE! Paul continues, “. . . our inward self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,” (2 Cor 4:16b-17). There is our answer. When we know Christ is waiting for our homecoming, we can survive. When we know there is a reunion of the saved, we can survive. When we know that we will be with him eternally, we can survive. When the temporary tragedies of life blow as hard as they can, we can stand steadfast and sure, because our anchor of hope is deep. We survive, because, “we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal..” (2 Cor 4:18).