In History, Perspective

During October 2010, all the world was mesmerized by the ongoing “miracle” rescue of 33 miners trapped deep underground in the San Jose mine in Chile for 69 days, a process that took weeks to prepare and an agonizing 22 hours to complete.

More than a billion people around the world sat glued to their TV sets to watch the amazing rescue attempt. Fox News Channel had its highest number of viewers world wide in ten years, drawing more viewers than the combined US NBC, ABC and CBS.

While the facts of the rescue have been covered in great detail by the mainstream media, here are some things you might not have heard. Or possibly, missed completely by the secular news media.

When the miners were rescued—when they came up one-at-a-time in that rescue capsule—most (perhaps all) of the miners were wearing special yellow T-shirts.

These had been created by the Chilean branch of Campus Crusade for Christ. Emblazoned boldly across the front of the T-shirts were the words, in Spanish, “Thank you, Lord.” The miners, in fact, had requested these words. The shirts were made and sent down the air tube while they waited for rescue.

But that’s not all. A quotation on the back of the shirts which began “porque en su mano estan …” was actually Scripture. It was Psalm 95:4: “In his hands are the depths of the earth, the heights of the mountains are his also.”

Campus Crusade had also provided the trapped miners – while still deep underground – with MP3 players with the audio version of the “Jesus” film. They also received the Bible in audio format.

Now here’s the good news. Rev. Aldredo Cooper, the chaplain to the President of Chile, said of the rescued miners, “They’re all wanting to testify to the Lord Jesus Christ. All 33 of them are saying that they found God in the mine. Five or six were already Christians and held services down in the mine. Many went down with no faith at all but they all say remembering Daniel in the fiery furnace: ‘We were not 33; we were 34 because Jesus Christ was with us down there.’“

One miner, Mario Sepulveda, told re-porters, “We never lost faith. We knew we would be rescued. I have been with God and I’ve been with the devil. I seized the hand of God. I always knew God would get us out of there.”

One interesting point that I had missed was that a medic actually was sent down in the rescue hole cage before the other miners could be brought up. Isn’t that a picture of what God did? He sent his Son down to us before we could be rescued. We all, like the miners, were in darkness.

But as Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12). And, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46).

I can only imagine the reaction, if those miners, trapped deep underground, came across Psalm 88 on their audio Bibles, when these words rang in their ears:

I am counted with those who go down to the pit;
I am like a man who has no strength,
Adrift among the dead,
Like the slain who lie in the grave,
You have laid me in the lowest pit,
In darkness, in the depths.
You have put away my acquaintances far from me;
I am shut up, and I cannot get out;
My eye wastes away…
LORD, I have called daily upon You;
I have stretched out my hands to You.
Will You work wonders for the dead?

And Jesus himself went to the depths to set us free. “At just the right time, when we were still powerless [trapped in sin], Christ died for the ungodly. While we were still sinners [trapped], Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6, 8).

Credits:  Campus Crusade for Christ, Chile.

Les Nixon is founder and director of the Christian ministry, Outback Patrol.

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