As I’m writing this, three of 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped half a mile underground for 69 days have been brought to the surface.
This is AWESOME. It is MIRACULOUS. I am so excited and happy for these men and their families that I don’t want to stop watching the live coverage. It is like watching these men reborn via the aptly-named Phoenix 2 recovery capsule.
These men, some with health problems, have been living in the depths of the earth, in over 90 degree heat, for well over two months. One miner has said that when he tries to sleep, he dreams that he is trapped in an oven, and then awakens in the darkness.
The more I read about these miners, the more I see the hand of God on their situation. Some people might argue that if God cared this wouldn’t have happened in the first place. None of these guys or their families deserved this.
I don’t know why He allowed this, but He did, so He must intend to use the situation for good somehow. I can say that the miners are an inspiration to the whole world. Their courage and tenacity is phenomenal!
From a psychological perspective, so much could have gone wrong in their minds during their imprisonment. They could have become delusional or competitive. They could have killed each other for food or water. Instead they have remained optimistic and cooperated, making sure that everyone is cared for.
These men have drawn on their backgrounds, personal experiences, talents, and training to fulfill certain roles in their subterranean community. One with medical training has functioned as the doctor. Another assumed the role of videographer.
One has become the leader and has insisted on being the last man out of the mines. Another miner has been drawing maps to assist the rescuers, and another is acting as secretary. They have each found their niche and even developed a daily problem-solving process for disagreements.
Remember my “Motivation” post? This is what happens when workers have the freedom to excel and be themselves. We are all so much more than our job titles!
Tonight I learned that one of the trapped men, Jose Henriquez Gonzalez, is a music-loving evangelical preacher. He is one of at least two men who have become spiritual leaders inside the mine. They lead prayer sessions twice a day.
Henriquez Gonzalez has worked in the mines for 33 years. Maybe at times he has asked himself what on earth he’s still doing in that job. What’s happened to him is horrifying, but his faith has allowed him to bring hope to a group of men who’ve been trapped underground longer than anyone else before them.
I’m not saying God put Henriquez Gonzalez there for three decades to be there for a time such as this; we don’t know if that’s true or not. I do wonder. But it’s clear that God has used him to bring light to his coworkers– even to the whole world as they are triumphing over what may be their worst nightmare.
The entire saga is miraculous. Henriquez Gonzalez had said that there was something wrong with the mine before the explosion happened. When the walls literally did start caving in, the men had just started gathering for lunch in a 12′ X 12′ room with a reinforced ceiling. Had the collapse happened at any other time, there would have been fatalities.
The miners couldn’t see for days because the dust was so thick and it was so dark. I don’t think anyone even knew if they were alive for seventeen days, during which time they had shared emergency rations designed to last for a mere 48 hours.
It appears that God sent an angel to save two of the miners:
The mine collapsed as (Franklin Lobos) and Jorge Galleguillos drove a truck deep down inside the shafts. They slowed down to look at a small white butterfly that had somehow gotten in the mine, and just ahead of them the rocks began caving in. It saved their lives, they said.
Lunchtime. The butterfly. The type of men trapped together and the talents they have used to get each other through this. Some men are getting married when they reach the surface– one to his girlfriend of 25 years!
It’s all evidence of divine intervention. What was a butterfly doing in 90+ degree heat, 90 percent humidity, dust, and darkness half a mile below ground anyway?
This rescue has brought a couple of scriptures to mind that remind me that God is everywhere. Job 28 is the first one:
1 “There is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined.
2 Iron is taken from the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.
3 Man puts an end to the darkness;
he searches the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.
4 Far from where people dwell he cuts a shaft,
in places forgotten by the foot of man;
far from men he dangles and sways.
5 The earth, from which food comes,
is transformed below as by fire;
6 sapphires come from its rocks,
and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
7 No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
no falcon’s eye has seen it.
8 Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
and no lion prowls there.
9 Man’s hand assaults the flinty rock
and lays bare the roots of the mountains.
10 He tunnels through the rock;
his eyes see all its treasures.
11 He searches the sources of the rivers
and brings hidden things to light.
20 “Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
23 God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to man,
‘The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.’ ”
Psalm 139 reminds me that God is everywhere– we can’t escape from His presence:
1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
The BBC has the best information about this rescue I’ve seen so far, including biographies of the miners and how-tos of the rescue.
I just saw that five miners are out, and the looks on their family members’ faces are priceless! Their families have been suffering terribly too, and there may be a long road ahead psychologically and medically for some of these men.
The second miner out, Mario Sepulveda, “said his faith in God had sustained him and that he had had full confidence he would be rescued” (BBC). These men’s rock-solid faith has been rewarded in a such a visible way that one billion people witnessed the first rescue on live TV.
For the 32 Chileans and one Bolivian who’ve been through hell, I’ll copy Psalm 139 again in Spanish. My great-aunt, who served 36 years ministering to the people of Argentina as a missionary, passed away last week. I’m sure she would want you to hear how valuable you are to your Creator in your first language.
Clearly God is with you and I hope that your lives will continue to have such an immense positive impact on others. Your team spirit is both literally and figuratively luz en la oscuridad (Matthew 5:14: Ustedes son la luz del mundo…). I’m so happy you’re free!!!!
1 Señor, tú me examinas,
tú me conoces.
2 Sabes cuándo me siento y cuándo me levanto;
aun a la distancia me lees el pensamiento.
3 Mis trajines y descansos los conoces;
todos mis caminos te son familiares.
4 No me llega aún la palabra a la lengua
cuando tú, Señor, ya la sabes toda.
5 Tu protección me envuelve por completo;
me cubres con la palma de tu mano.
6 Conocimiento tan maravilloso rebasa mi comprensión;
tan sublime es que no puedo entenderlo.
7 ¿A dónde podría alejarme de tu Espíritu?
¿A dónde podría huir de tu presencia?
8 Si subiera al cielo,
allí estás tú;
si tendiera mi lecho en el fondo del *abismo,
también estás allí.
9 Si me elevara sobre las alas del alba,
o me estableciera en los extremos del mar,
10 aun allí tu mano me guiaría,
¡me sostendría tu mano derecha!
11 Y si dijera: «Que me oculten las tinieblas;
que la luz se haga noche en torno mío»,
12 ni las tinieblas serían oscuras para ti,
y aun la noche sería clara como el día.
¡Lo mismo son para ti las tinieblas que la luz!
13 Tú creaste mis entrañas;
me formaste en el vientre de mi madre.
14 ¡Te alabo porque soy una creación admirable!
¡Tus obras son maravillosas,
y esto lo sé muy bien!
15 Mis huesos no te fueron desconocidos
cuando en lo más recóndito era yo formado,
cuando en lo más profundo de la tierra
era yo entretejido.
16 Tus ojos vieron mi cuerpo en gestación:
todo estaba ya escrito en tu libro;
todos mis días se estaban diseñando,
aunque no existía uno solo de ellos.
17 ¡Cuán preciosos, oh Dios, me son tus pensamientos!
¡Cuán inmensa es la suma de ellos!
18 Si me propusiera contarlos,
sumarían más que los granos de arena.
Y si terminara de hacerlo,[a]
aún estaría a tu lado.
19 Oh Dios, ¡si les quitaras la vida a los impíos!
¡Si de mí se apartara la gente sanguinaria,
20 esos que con malicia te difaman
y que en vano se rebelan contra ti![b]
21 ¿Acaso no aborrezco, Señor, a los que te odian,
y abomino a los que te rechazan?
22 El odio que les tengo es un odio implacable;
¡los cuento entre mis enemigos!
23 Examíname, oh Dios, y sondea mi corazón;
ponme a prueba y sondea mis pensamientos.
24 Fíjate si voy por mal camino,
y guíame por el *camino eterno.
Scriptures and translation from BibleGateway.com.
If you are going through hell, keep going. -Winston Churchill
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