I wrote the following, years ago. It is based on a true story my dad used as an illustration in some of his sermons. -anita
By now, the smoke was billowing out of the tenth story window of the apartment building. The fire had been ablaze for sometime. The street was crowded with onlookers as the flames leapt higher and higher into the sky.
No one was sure just how the fire had started. Perhaps it had begun in the basement of the building where some old rags had been stored too close to the furnace and ignited.
As the crowd in the street looked on in dismay, a man shouted, “Look!” as he pointed to the window full of smoke. A brave young fireman had gone up just moments before on a ladder, and crawled through the burning window to look for survivors. Now, here he was, coming back out! As he stepped onto the first rung of the ladder, the crowd cheered with a loud voice. Everyone was relieved that he had made it! But…something was wrong! Why was he just standing there? He should be moving down the ladder; the building was engulfed in flames and could collapse at any time!
It looked as though he was arguing with someone inside. All of a sudden, he climbed back into the burning building. The crowd stood silent as they waited for him to reappear. It seemed like an eternity! Wait…was that him in the window? No! It was two people! He had found a survivor!
The crowd cheered even louder now as the fireman headed down the ladder with a woman in his arms. The woman could be heard sobbing above the sound of their cheers. At first, they thought she was crying from fear…or maybe relief; but as she got nearer the street, they could hear her words, as she screamed in desperation. “My baby is still in there! Please…don’t leave her…you MUST go back!”
He brought her to the ambulance attendant, as more words passed between them. Someone overheard her telling him where she’d left the baby. She said the baby and her favorite doll were in the crib, just on the left side of the bedroom window. Suddenly, the conversation was over, and to the utter amazement of the crowd, he started up the ladder again. The crowd began buzzing. “He can’t be going back in there…not even if there is a baby that needs to be saved!” Neither one of them will make it out…he’ll never be able to find the window in all of that smoke!”
Someone checked their watch…it seemed like forever since he’d disappeared into the smoke. As fast as the building was burning, there wouldn’t be much time left before it would fall, brick by brick. Everyone on the ground was praying and hoping he would be able to find the baby and get out in time.
More time passed. At last…he emerged, carrying a bundle wrapped in what looked like a baby blanket. The crowd went wild with excitement as he descended the ladder. The worried mother was overjoyed at the sight of him and the blanket! She hurriedly pushed her way through the crowd to meet him. They both reached their destination at the same time. The fireman handed her the bundle with a smile and a look of relief on his smudged, smoky face. When she opened the small bundle, a scream of horror came from her throat. As the scream escaped her lips, the apartment building collapsed into rubble and ashes. She kept crying over and over, “You got the doll! This isn’t the baby! You got the wrong bundle…it’s the wrong bundle!”
The fireman was sincere in his efforts to save the baby…he even risked his life, but he was sincerely wrong.
Sometimes, we live our lives the same way. We do nice things for people; maybe we even get baptized and join a church. We always try to do the right things. But, let’s not forget that it’s not our good deeds that save us. The Bible say, “all of our good deeds are like filthy, dirty rags.” It also says, “Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but by HIS mercy he has saved us.” We can’t get to heaven except by going through Jesus. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus is the window you must go through. His death on the cross is the ladder to safety.
Think for a moment…what is it that you are trusting in? Are you trusting in your self? Or are you trusting in Jesus?
Listen to his voice. Call on HIM and let him carry you to safety!
By: Anita Mondragon