Good news from a distant country

In the book of Proverbs in the Bible we read, “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant country.” These words came to my mind as I watched the 33 miners in Chile being brought safely up from their underground prison. Very little of the news we hear and see each day is good news. The news is overwhelmingly bad. But here was a good news story and it was a privilege to see pictures of this remarkable rescue. It made me thankful to God for his goodness to these men and their families.

The men have wonderfully been delivered from what seemed like certain death. An international rescue operation has succeeded in a much shorter time than had been anticipated. Human skill and technologically advanced equipment provided a way of escape. In our world some human beings do evil things and cause great suffering to other people. It was so encouraging to see the great potential for good when people use their God-given talents so effectively.

It was refreshing to hear the Chilean leaders and the miners expressing their thankfulness to God for the successful rescue of the men. One of the chaplains said their prayers had been answered. He also said that some of the men had had an encounter with God while they were in the depths of the earth and had been conscious of the presence of Jesus with them.

Times of crisis sometimes drive people away from God, but they can also draw us nearer to him. Facing imminent death raises big questions. We are all very vulnerable and are hearts can be gripped by fear. At such times our faith is tested. The best thing we can do is to come to God and ask for his help. In Jesus Christ he promises a future and a hope.

The Chilean miners were ordinary men doing a very dangerous job. They and their loved ones, the Chilean nation and people all round the world prayed to the living God for their deliverance and he graciously answered their prayers. It may be that you, too, are facing a crisis in your life. The words of David in Psalm 34 are a real encouragement to us all, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from my fears. This poor many called, and the Lord heard him, he saved him out of all his troubles.”

The greatest rescue in history

Engineers drilling to reach the 33 trapped miners in Chile say the men may soon be rescued. The rescue operation has gone much better than had been anticipated. The miners have been trapped underground for 2 months, longer than any other group. The process of bringing the men to the surface will be difficult and dangerous.

The trapped miners must have experienced many emotions. They were not discovered until 17 days after the rock fall. They had to face a seemingly certain death in the depths of the earth. Then contact was made and their hopes were raised, but the rescue operation would be long and difficult. Now, it seems, their ordeal is almost over and their hopes are high. The rescue operation looks as if it will be a great success. The rescue team and people all around the world will rejoice when the miners are reunited with their families again.

Jesus Christ came into this world to accomplish the greatest rescue in history. All of us struggle with our sinful hearts. Every day we break God’s commands. We are responsible for our actions and one day will stand before him to be judged. All of us have sinned and have fallen short of what God requires. Our sins separate us from God and have eternal consequences. We need someone to intervene and help us.

Jesus came to be the Saviour of needy people like us. He is the Mediator between God and us. One hymn writer says, ”Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.” Jesus looked with compassion on us and, at great cost to himself, paid the price of our sins by his death on the Cross.

When the rock fall happened, the miners in Chile knew they were in big trouble. Many people, it seems, don’t realise their need to be rescued by Jesus. We can live with little thought for the future and simply assume that all will be well. But there are times when we realise the sinfulness of our own hearts and the seriousness of our situation. We don’t have the power to change what we have done or to change our hearts. But in the Lord Jesus there is real hope. In him we can find a new beginning, forgiveness for our sins, peace with God and a bright hope for the future.

Chilean miners face almost certain death

The plight of the miners in San Jose, Chile has moved many people around the world. Mining safety experts say that the effort to save the 33 men trapped deep in a Chilean mine is an unprecedented challenge. It will mean months of drilling, then a harrowing 3 hour trip in a cage up a narrow hole about 26” wide carved through solid rock. Drilling of the hole will take up to 4 months and it will take 4 days to haul all the men up to the surface.

The miners will have to move more than 3,000 tons of rock as it falls into the area where they are trapped. They will have to work in nonstop shifts to remove it with wheelbarrows and industrial sweepers. The temperature in the mine is 85 degrees all the time. There are great concerns for the men’s physical and mental well being. Communication has been established and relatives and friends are doing everything they can to encourage them. A survivor of a similar mining crisis in America said, “If they make it, they will feel like they’re being born again.”

Not many of us have to face the real possibility of death as these men are. They are trapped and unable to save themselves. They are dependent on the skills of the rescue team to get them out of their prison, 750 yards underground. It is one thing to know that one day we will die; it is another to face the reality and have to wait in the hope that the rescue will be successful. If all goes well, as we pray it does, they will, indeed, feel that their lives have been given back to them.

Because we were helpless, God sent his Son into the world to be the Saviour of all who trust in him. He came to do what we cannot do for ourselves. It is so important for us to realize our need and to look to Jesus Christ for salvation. As we experience the love and grace of God, Jesus said we are born again. We begin a new life. The past is forgotten and we have a future hope. In one of his hymns Charles Wesley wrote, “Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night; thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon, flamed with light; my chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.”