The rescue of the 33 Chilean miners
The rescue of the 33 Chilean miners, trapped for 69 days a half a mile beneath the mountain, is a story for the ages, isn’t it? Can you imagine the ecstatic joy that exploded into the cold night air, as that bullet-shaped recovery capsule emerged from out of the ground, transporting the first of the entombed captives to freedom? Desperate hope had become reality. The captives were coming home!
Did you know that one of the miners is a Seventh-day Adventist? Pedro Navia, the chair of the International Language Studies department here at Andrews University, several weeks ago sent to me a scanned copy of a hand-written letter the trapped miner wrote to his pastor. According to Dr. Navia, the church in Chile sent this pastor to the mining disaster site to minister to the miners’ families. The pastor even sent small Bibles down the lifeline shaft for the miners to read every day. Here is the translated letter in its entirety:
Pastor Carlos Parra Diaz,
From down here, my greetings to you and your family. Thank you for praying for us, the 33 miners.
I want to tell you that here we are all calm and I know God, the Mighty God, has protected us since the first day that this happened. Here we pray at 12:00 noon every day since the collapse took place. Here I can see all beliefs and religions, but we are all brothers in Christ. It is hard for me to write… I feel something here inside of me and it is difficult to think… If God has preserved our lives it is just because He has prepared something special for us when we leave this place. Here, there is a lot of time to think and pray.
For you and your family: “Only Jesus gives us rest and our heavy load becomes something light and easy to carry. A scene full of hope opens in front of us where our sorrows become a consoling future”.
Good bye to you and to everyone in your family,
Jose Ricardo Ojeda
I love that line, “A scene full of hope opens in front of us, where our sorrows become a consoling future.” For how could rescue of these entombed miners not be a foretaste of that explosive moment when He who is the Resurrection and the Life will call from their dusty beds of death his earth children one day soon? Listen to the jubilant exclamation of the second miner to be rescued. “I never doubted. I always knew God would rescue us,” Mario Sepulveda proclaimed. “‘I am so very happy,’ added the miner who was surrounded by family members holding his hands or touching him, as if to be sure he was really there. ‘I'm 40 years old and will live many years more now to honor those who helped’ in the rescue” (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-chile-miner-rescues-20101014,0,1311890.story).
For nine days now, Lee Venden has been teaching us that our Forever Friend has already shattered the chains of guilt and fear that entomb us. “A scene of hope opens in front of us.” Knowing we have been loved to the depths of Calvary, we can walk with our Friend Jesus—revived, set free, to live the rest of our lives to honor the One “who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). And whether we live or whether we die, “a scene full of hope opens in front of us where our sorrows become a consoling future.” Amen.