The Author

Chilean Miners

The world has been thrilled by the rescue of the thirty-three Chilean miners who were trapped underground for over two months. When the crisis first became known, I suspect that the initial reaction was despair because our experience has been that these stories do not usually end well. After the initial flurry of interest, life as we know it interrupted our concern, and the miners who were out of sight were also out of mind. For a good while, it seemed that nothing was happening.

Our assumption was wrong. Hope made a comeback. Day by day, engineers and scientists labored to develop the safest and surest rescue attempt. Families of the men kept vigil at the site, enduring the harsh winter of that desert region, praying all the while. Underground, an occasional voice kept those above informed of their status. Some were well; some were not.

Then, after what must have seemed an eternity for those waiting, above and below, the cage that would hold a single individual was lowered in a test run. All went well, and a couple of days ago, the world witnessed the ascent of the first miner from the depths of the earth. When he stepped out of the cage, the celebration began. He kissed his wife. He kissed the president of Chile – three times. He kissed the ground. He fell to his knees in praise and thanks to God. He handed out rocks that he had brought from below as souvenirs to those who were awaiting his return. His was just the first burst of celebration of those who were feared to be dead, but are really alive.

As each of the miners was set free, we learned a little more about what had occurred in the darkness. The men had organized themselves as a family, encouraging and taking care of one another. Those who were strong reached out in compassion to those who were weak. Those who had great supply sacrificed for those who were in need. One of them said that his faith in God was renewed by the experience. Another said that while they all knew that there were thirty-three men there, it felt like there were thirty-four.

For those of us who were above ground and watching from a distance, in the light that we had, it seemed that not much was going on underground. We couldn’t have been more wrong. In that foreboding place, God was making individuals into a community, granting peace, renewing faith – all a reminder that, even when we cannot see, God is at work. As the Psalmist said, “Even the darkness is not dark to you.” (Psalm 139:12)
Blessings, Sam