The Fisher Building was 67 stories tall. Elisa Rockford was dangling from her office window hanging on with both hands. Smoke was pouring out over her as an angry fire was devouring the top floor of the skyscraper.
Minutes before, the blaze had started quickly near the elevators and rapidly spread. Smoke and extreme heat blocked the stairwell. The sprinkler system failed. Elisa and her boss were trapped.
The young wife, mother of one, church pianist and executive assistant was praying feverishly as her grip on life began to weaken. The heat from the inferno inside was burning her fingers. She didn’t want to look down.
Earlier that morning, Elisa had cooked breakfast for her son and husband. She gave them each a kiss as they left for work and the school bus. Just before her son got on the bus he turned around with a big smile spread across his freckled face.
“Don’t forget about the game tonight, Mom.”
“I won’t, Honey. I love you.”
A shriek and shattering glass startled Elisa as she watched a shadowy figure burst through the window next to her. She closed her eyes until the scream suddenly silenced 670 feet below.
“Dear God in Heaven, please hear me. My child, my husband, Gram…”
Elisa was about to release her hold on the window pane when she thought she heard a familiar whisper in the midst of the roaring blaze above and sirens below.
“God, is that you?”
She dug her charred fingers deeper into the melting frame of her window.
“No! I won’t. They can’t make it without me. I’m a mother, a wife, a granddaughter.”
Elisa didn’t know where her strength to continue to hold on was coming from. Flames were starting to bite her fingers. The heat was sucking the breath from her lungs.
Elisa didn’t realize she was falling. She was concentrating on the voice.
Be confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Twenty-five years earlier, Elisa was taught Philippians 1:6 from her grandmother. At night, while dressed in one of her many pairs of footed pajamas, she was made to repeat it before she went to sleep.
“Why do I have to say this every night, Gram-mommy?”
Her grandmother would glance over at a picture of Elisa’s mother on the nightstand and then kiss her grand-girl’s forehead.
“Because it gives you confidence, my little darling, confidence that God is in charge.”
The last words to escape Elisa Rockford’s lips were, “I trust you, Lord.”
A week later, Elisa’s husband and son were dressed in matching black suits standing in front of a yellow and red flower covered casket. Their polished black shoes were splattered by falling tears.
Between sniffles and sobs a soothing voice whispered in their ears.
“Be confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
“Amen,” said the father.
The child looked up at his dad with tear streaked eyes.
“Daddy, I didn’t know you knew the Bible like Mom. She used to tell me that scripture every night.”
“That wasn‘t me speaking, Son.” The father choked on his words as he gave a look heavenward.
“Was it God, Daddy? I bet Mom asked Him to tell us that. Don’t you think, Daddy?”
The father gazed back down at his son and forced a smile from his trembling lips.
“Yes, Son, I’m sure she did.”
“I’m confident, Daddy, are you?”
“I’m getting there, Son. I’m getting there.”
An hour later, a crowd of mourners stood around the fresh grave of Elisa Rockford who was just laid to rest next to her mother’s tombstone. An elderly woman draped in a black shawl sat trembling in her wheelchair.
“Are you okay, Gram?”
The woman looked down into the sparkling eyes of her great-grandson. She was amazed how much he looked like his mother and grandmother.
“I’m far from okay, Little-one, but I’m confident.”
“Me too, Gram. Did you hear God whisper that too?”
The woman closed her eyes for a moment and wryly smiled.
“Yes, Little-one, a long, long time ago.”
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