Have you ever been stuck? I just read of a burglar who was caught after police heard him screaming. They found the lower half of his body swinging above the still-hot deep fryer at Paesan’s Pizza. Thankfully it was attached to the top half which was stuck in a ventilation duct. Then there was Christopher Air, aged three. His mother Elaine allowed him to play on one of those crane machines, where you try to pick up a teddy bear with its mechanical arm. Left alone for a few minutes, he managed to climb up the flap where the prizes come out and squeezed inside. After 30 minutes, he was released. No word on whether or not they gave him a teddy bear.
Way back in August of 2010, 700,000 tons of rock collapsed into a gold and copper mine in San Jose, Chile, trapping 33 miners 2,300 feet underground. For 17 days no one knew if they were alive. Then on the thirtieth try, a probe drill punched through solid rock into a chamber and a camera focused on 33 blackened faces.
In darkness they had waited, starving and sweltering, but united in their hope that this was not the end. Completely incapable of digging themselves out, panic and despair turned to elation and relief.
My wife and I watched along with a billion others as the men were lifted up a narrow escape shaft to stand under the open sky, gulping fresh air. We quickly learned three lessons watching this rescue.
- Never give up. In a letter sent before his rescue, the youngest miner, 19-year-old Jimmy Sanchez, said there were actually 34 in the mine “because God has never left us down here.” Are you facing something today that feels insurmountable? Never forget we have a Saviour who goes looking for lost sheep, a God who promises to never abandon or forsake us.
- Reach up. Imagine if the capsule descended only to have the miners say, “No. I’d rather not climb into that shuttle.” “That’s crazy,” you say. But how often we reject God’s offer of grace. Reach up.
- Give thanks. When Manuel Gonzalez, the first of a 6-man rescue team, entered the capsule to descend, by choice, into the dark tunnel to join the lost men in their plight and guide them to freedom, there were no guarantees that he would return safely. In a dramatic scene fed back by underground video cameras, Gonzalez stepped out of the capsule to be mobbed by the miners in their underground tomb. His coming brought life and hope.
Let’s live each day with gratitude to the God who reached down and drew us from darkness to light.
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