Survival Tip #9: Help Others

Survival Tip #9: Help Others

This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
–John 15:12

Brian Clark and Stanley Praimnath both worked in the south tower of the World Trade Center. Clark was a vice president at Euro Brokers on the eighty-fourth floor, and Praimnath worked for Fuji Bank on the eighty-first floor. On September 11, 2001, the explosion in the south tower caused the building to sway. There was no electricity, and the air on the eighty-fourth floor was choked with dust. Clark did not know exactly what was happening, but he was a volunteer fire marshal, so he grabbed his flashlight and gathered a group to evacuate. When they had descended to the landing of the eighty-first floor, they encountered a woman making her way up the stairwell. She said there were flames below, and the only way of escape was to go higher. As she spoke, Clark heard someone crying for help beyond the locked door leading to the offices. It was Stanley Praimnath, who had been buried in the rubble of the explosion. The group debated whether to continue their descent or turn around and head for a higher floor. Meanwhile, Clark squeezed through an opening in the drywall, entered the eighty-first floor, and dug Praimnath out of the rubble. When Clark and Praimnath returned to the stairwell, the others were gone; they had decided to climb back up. Clark shined his flashlight down the stairwell and saw only smoke–no flames. So the two men decided to go down. They had to scramble over a lot of debris, but eventually they managed to get out of the building. Once on the ground, they ran to Trinity Church. Praimnath looked toward the south tower and said, “I think that building’s gonna come down.” “I don’t think so,” Clark said. “That’s a steel structure. That’s carpets and . . .” Before he could complete the thought, they heard the “boom, boom, boom” of the upper floors beginning to collapse. But Clark and Praimnath were safe. The two strangers, thrown together by the events of that terrible day, became lifelong friends, or “blood brothers,” as Clark later put it.

In a real sense, Clark and Praimnath saved each other that day. Obviously Clark saved Praimnath by digging him out of the rubble. But in a way, Praimnath saved Clark as well. If Praimnath had not cried out for help, Clark could have very well ended up with the rest of his group, trapped on the upper floors when the building collapsed.

As Christians, we, too, are in a life-threatening situation. We face a culture that is hostile to the things of God; we face an adversary, the devil, who is out to destroy us; and we face our own sin nature. When you are in a threatening situation, it is very easy to think about your own survival. But this week we are going to look at tip #9 for surviving in difficult circumstances, and that is to help others. When you find yourself in a difficult situation, do not just think about helping yourself; think about helping others. Because when you help others, you help yourself as well.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #9: Help Others” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

Brian Clark, “9/11 Survivor Brian Clark Reflects On His Escape, 15 Years Later,” interview by Jeremy Hobson, Here & Now, WBUR, September 7, 2016, https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2016/09/07/911-survivor-brian-clark.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.