Never Give Up

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To listen to this reflection as a podcast, click here.
The pre-dawn earthquake that struck along the border of Turkey and Syria yesterday was one of the most powerful shakings those countries have ever experienced.
There are fewer than 20 quakes a year anywhere on the planet that exceed a magnitude of 7.0.  This one measured 7.8, meaning it was sufficiently fierce to bring down thousands of structures that weren’t designed to endure such violence.    
Geologists immediately identified the culprit as the Anatolian tectonic plate, which is slowly migrating westwards about an inch a year.  Since the last major earthquake in the area happened in 1872, enormous stress had been accumulating.  Worse yet, the sudden conversion of that stress into horizontal earth movement apparently destabilized an adjoining fault.  Nine hours after the first earthquake, a second one measuring 7.5 took place about 60 miles north. 
The results have been predictably heartbreaking.
Rescue teams, volunteers, and family members – all hindered by strong aftershocks and freezing winter weather – are digging frantically into collapsed buildings.  More than 3,500 people are known to have perished.  Now the race is on:  Will the rescuers have sufficient time and resources to reach the many who still lie buried under the rubble? 
The videos pouring in from the other side of the world bring to mind a violent earthquake that rocked another part of Turkey more than a quarter century ago. 
Tragically, that disaster struck in the middle of the day.  Scores of children disappeared when their school buildings collapsed.  Parents and rescue workers dug for days.  Gradually hope faded that any more survivors might be found.
One dad refused to leave his son’s school.  He continued to burrow into the shapeless piles of bricks and blocks.
Another day passed.  And then another. 
And then he heard the voices of children from a narrow space in the rubble. 
His own son’s voice rang out.  “We’re here, Dad.  I told the other kids not to worry.  I told them you would never give up.”
To know God is to be blessed with the assurance that we have a heavenly Father who will never give up.  He will never leave us to face the world alone.  The writer of Hebrews reminds us, “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.’  So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid…’” (Hebrews 13:5-6)
Because we are made in the image of this God who never gives up, there’s something deeply planted within each of us that prompts us to do the same.
This week you may not be called to dig through rubble, or tie a tourniquet to save a life, or comfort someone in overwhelming pain.
But you can still do something that really matters – especially for any children or grandchildren in your family, those who will always be looking to you for help, even if they rarely express that in words.
Give them a gift:  Let them know that you will always be there for them.
And that you will never give up.