The elevator came to a sudden stop. The only problem was it was between floors. Ironically, I had just been examining the escape hatch when the sudden stop occurred. “How does a person even reach it,” I remember thinking; well perhaps I was getting ready to find out.
After pushing all the normal buttons to no avail, I finally decided to pick up the emergency phone, that as a kid I was told never to touch. If you’re like me and have always wondered who’s on the other end of such a phone…. I’m sorry to report, I don’t know. That’s right…you got it…the phone was dead. What made the matter worse was that I was alone. To my knowledge, I was the only person in the building that day.”
I was at a retreat site that I frequent for prayer and study and had just gone downstairs to get some ice before settling in. If I had known things would end up like this I would have just stayed home.
In the midst of some prayers, resembling someone talking to himself, and a few yells for help, I discovered a small alarm button on the wall. I pressed it over and over again in hopes that somebody, anybody, might hear and come to my rescue. And that they did.
In a time when I thought that I was all alone, God in His mercy had left a cleaning lady in the building. She was quick to assure me that everything would be all right and got a hold of the maintenance man who finally got me out.
After settling back into my room with a bucket of slightly melted ice, I was finally ready to get on with the important business of prayer and study.
Then it happened….. With laptop computer comfortably positioned on my lap, Bible opened and worship music playing I heard the unmistakable sound of the elevator alarm. I couldn’t believe it. Someone else was stuck.
I have to be honest; my initial response was not very Christ-like. Didn’t they know I had come here not to be disturbed? I waited for a few moments in hopes that someone else would answer the call but it didn’t happen.
All fingers were pointing at me as the Holy Spirit reminded me of where I had just come from. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly we forget all that God has done for us in our time of need. I quickly put all my religious activities aside and returned to the place where I had just been rescued.
Be assured no one had to tell me what to say. I had learned it first-hand from a simple cleaning woman. “It’s going to be all right. I know someone who can get you out of there.”
The message has great spiritual application. This is the very reason that Jesus came into the world, not to condemn us but to rescue us. He was the only one not trapped by sin and, therefore, the only one qualified to get us out.
I know that God saw my heart that day when I had genuinely pulled aside just to be with Him. In His loving way He had once again reached down to rescue me; not just from being stuck on an elevator, but more importantly from the subtle trap of any religious activity that is void of the love of Christ.
May the Lord remind us all where we’ve come from and give us hearts to respond to those in need.
“If a rich person sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against his brother, how can he claim that he loves God? My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” -1 John 3:17-18