Did you cry today?
Over the last 24 hours, the world has watched as 33 men, trapped for 69 days a couple thousand feet under the earth’s surface, were brought up one by one to be reunited with family and friends who have waited anxiously for those two long months, never having absolute confidence that they would hold each other again. I’ve seen countless news stories, almost as many Face-book posts, and had several conversations in my business about the ordeal as the rescue continued today.
But, it wasn’t until this evening, when a friend passed on a photo of one of the rescued miners and the tee-shirt he was wearing, that I was struck by the incredible wonder that these men had not only survived, but thrived spiritually while trapped in that huge tomb, so deep under the earth. The shirt has a quote from Psalm 95:4, which says, “In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the mountains are His also.” After that, they’ve added, “To Him, is the Honor and the Glory.”
This quote from one of the trapped men, earlier in the ordeal, also gave me pause. He said, “Under the earth there is a ray of light, my path…and faith is the last thing that is lost…”
Yeah, there are tears in my eyes, too…
The media can and has talked about the incredible cooperative effort that went into this operation. They’ve discussed at length the things that the engineers, the doctors, and the politicians have done right. And, they’re not completely wrong to do so. So many people have worked for weeks to make this rescue happen. The NASA guys from the States were there, as well as a drilling team. Many other countries lent their expertise to see the success of this particular enterprise. But we’ve seen these disasters before when all the effort of the skilled rescuers was ultimately in vain. Men don’t control events. We are not captains of our destiny. It seems evident that these miners know who really protected them, who really sustained them through this seemingly interminable night spent underground. I love that the testimony of their faith has been broadcast to the world in a positive way, not in the anger of “holy war”, not in the advancement of self-indulgence, but in the simple faith of men who needed to be rescued, believing that there was One who would answer when they called.
One of my favorite sayings for several years has been this, attributed to Thomas a’ Kempis, “For man proposes, but God disposes.” We are an arrogant race (the human one, that is), taking credit for that which we have not done, believing that we are masters of our universe, but just as The Preacher in the Old Testament, we must eventually make the same judgment he did when he said, “This is the conclusion I came to: We must fear God and obey Him, for this is the complete duty of man.” Sooner or later, we will realize that it’s not about man and what we desire, but about God and His will. Those thirty-three men are alive today at the pleasure of His will and I’m guessing they know it.
The old adage tells us, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” I wonder how many there were in that collapsed mine, way down in the depths of the earth.
Soli Deo gloria!
(To God alone be the Glory!)
*From the Psalms, meaning something like, “Pause and let it sink in.”