Early on the morning of June 5,1946, fire swept through the twenty-two story Hotel LaSalle in Chicago. Within minutes the main outside exits and stairway exits from the floors above were blocked by flames. Most of the eleven hundred patrons had retired to their rooms. The fire raged for three hours. It was Chicago’s worst hotel tragedy. Over 200 people were injured and 65 lives were lost. Smoke, panic, and intense heat claimed most of the victims. At least ten persons leaped to certain death from windows high above the street. Fire commissioner Michael Corrigan said, ‘‘Many of the deaths were tragically unnecessary.’’ A few moments before the fire occurred, a Chicago merchantman telephoned his wife from the hotel to say he was playing bridge there with friends. His wife said afterwards, ‘‘I asked him when he would be home, and he said he would come home as soon as he finished the hand they were playing.’’ But that was not soon enough. His wife identified his body at a county morgue later that day. One hand of bridge cost this man his life.
How often when one is asked (in the spiritual sense), ‘‘When are you coming home?’’ he answers, ‘‘After I do this, that, or the other thing.’’ And before he is aware of it, death has overtaken him and he is ushered into a lost eternity.
Miss Anita Blair of El Paso, Texas, a blind lecturer, was on the eleventh floor of the LaSalle Hotel at the time of the fire. But she followed her seeing eye dog, Fawn, to safety. Following Fawn into the hallway, she related, ‘‘He made the way through the noise , smoke, and confusion to a window and down eleven floors of an outside fire escape.’’ For all spiritually blind persons, faith is the seeing eye needed to go through all the noise, and smoke.
Jesus promised to come to earth gain to judge sinners. And just as God was true to His Word and caused the flood to sweep away sinners, Jesus is coming again to exact judgment on God’s enemies—people living in sin. Jesus will help you to escape the coming judgment if you believe in Him. Let Jesus deliver you from your prison of sin, misery, and grief. God’s grace is sufficient. Whatever your need, Jesus is adequate. Believe in Him and He will give you peace, hope, and eternal life.