RESCUED!

 

Many of us were glued to our TV sets as we watched history unfold before our eyes over this last week.  We live in a world of network and cable news programming which consists more often of bad news than good. The story of the Chilean miners who had been trapped underground for 69 days gripped a nation and fascinated the world as finally, came a successful and joyful conclusion.

 

         Their story begins on August 5th with 33 miners who had been underground at a copper mine just outside the city of Copiapo in northern Chile. They had been working their shift when a cave-in took place which trapped them completely. Unknown to people on the surface, the miners had gathered in a shelter which is prepared for mining accidents where food, water and other supplies are there for long term situations just like theirs. For 17 days the nation of Chile wondered if they were alive. As a drill made it through the solid rock and arrived 2300 feet down rescuers could hear a tapping sound. As they pulled the drill out of the ground they joyfully discovered that they were all alive in the shelter. That was August 22nd, a nation rejoiced and families breathed a sigh of relief. The rescue effort went much quicker then originally thought and finally just after midnight on October 13th the first miner appeared on the surface of the desert floor to the jubilation of his family, co-workers, his nation and the world as millions people cried and cheered. This scene was repeated 32 more times with each one receiving the same treatment. As many of you know I was born and raised in Chile and hold Chilean citizenship. This story was close to my heart and I was on the phone with a buddy living in Chile as the first miner ascended. Needless to say, I cried.


Each miner has a story behind them. From the young Bolivian who had only been on the job five days, to the young 18 year old who had been working a few months. On the other end there were veterans who had worked 30 plus years and were looking towards retirement. Their lives will be changed forever and truly we can all agree it is a great, feel-good story.

I have thought a lot about this incredible event and realized how much these men quoted their faith in God as the thing that sustained them. Chile is a predominantly catholic nation so most people have a fear and reverence for God. Among them was an evangelical lay-preacher who held prayer services every day at 12 pm and 6 pm. Not all these men were or are followers of Christ but they were certainly exposed to people who had true faith in God.

 

In a story on a CNN blog it tells of the head of Campus Crusade for Christ International in Chile getting one of the family members of miner Jose Henriquez to send to him an mp3 audio rendition of the Jesus Film and the New Testament. This is what Jose Henriquez wrote in a letter that was dispatched to the surface; “Thank you for this tremendous blessing for me and my coworkers. It will be good for our spiritual edification. I am fine because Christ lives in me. We have prayer services at 12 noon and 6 pm”. Upon their ascent each miner wore a t-shirt supplied by Campus Crusade. The verse quoted was something this miner had added to his note of gratitude which is found in Psalm 95:4 “In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him”. This verse was on the back of each t-shirt and on the front it said “Thank you Lord”.


As I have reflected on this rescue effort I was amazed as those on the surface focused on the people and the technology that surrounded the rescue. Americans lauded the fact that materials and advice from NASA was used, while the Germans supplied the cables to hoist the capsule and other nations contributed with their own expertise to bring success to the saving of lives. The journalists present numbered over 1000 strong concentrated on these things, but in the midst of it all, many of these miners referenced that God was with them. One of them said, there were 34 of us down there, not 33 because God was with us. Another said, I have been with God and I have been with the devil, God won. The reality is that technology and the human spirit and will to live were very evident, but once again we must go back to God. Kneeling on the ground, Jose Henriquez acknowledged his creator. For many of these men fame and fortune await them. Will the ability of man be glorified or will the giver of life and intelligence who gives man his ability to create, restore and rescue be glorified?

Psalm 20:7 says “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God”.

 

By: Pastor David Jones