God, Please Help Them

The physical devastation that has come to Mexico City in the wake of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake a couple days ago is extraordinary. But it doesn’t even begin to compare to the emotional wreckage that has been left in the wake of a death toll that has risen to 230: families shattered, friendships severed, and lives forever upended.

If that isn’t enough to drive even the most distracted believer to his or her knees, maybe this horrifically agonizing scene unfolding on their streets will:

The most agonizing search was at a school in the south of Mexico City where 21 children — aged between seven and 13 — and five adults were crushed to death. Many children were still missing.  By Wednesday afternoon, 24 hours after the quake struck, rescuers working under the gaze of anguished parents had managed to locate several signs of life under the rubble using a thermal scanner.

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“They are alive! Alive!” shouted Civil Protection volunteer Enrique Garcia, 37. “Someone hit a wall several times in one place, and in another there was a response to light signals with a lamp,” he said.  “We have been at this since yesterday, but we cannot reach them, because they are trapped between two slabs…”

It’s simply unimaginable. Your precious 7-year-old little girl, your 9-year-old son, or your 12-year-old twins are missing under a seemingly intractable tangle of beams, slabs, blocks, and concrete. Rescuers, impotent to move the pile, are reduced to showing you thermal images of scared little children, desperately clinging to life. You can only wonder if they are yours, if they are hurt, if they are calling for you.

One mother captured the torment:

“No one can possibly imagine the pain I’m in right now,” said one mother, Adriana Fargo, who was standing outside what remained of the school waiting for news of her seven-year-old daughter.

Life can be busy. We all have schedules to keep, meetings to attend, deadlines to meet, and tasks to complete. But we can all do something about this. Something that matters; something that works.

We can all stop for just a few fleeting moments, put ourselves in the shoes of these poor people, and beg God to help them. Please do that for Adriana. Please do it for all of those parents and children and families. Please do it right now.

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Peter Heck

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