Imagine yourself buried alive. The absolute darkness, suffocating silence, heart-pounding terror must be enough to break even the strongest of personalities. Is anyone looking for me? Does anyone even know where to look? Is this to be my personal doom? There’s nothing I can do! Have I any reason to hope?
In recent weeks, the Lord has given the world another parable. Thirty-three men, caught deep underground when disaster struck the mine in Chile, had no hope to get themselves out of their living nightmare. Above ground, family and friends gathered in helpless vigil, while the nation and then the world pooled resources of technology to search for, and finally rescue, all thirty-three miners alive.
The details of their imprisonment, how they managed to cope under such extreme conditions, could certainly turn into a blockbuster movie. But, I wonder how many watching eyes will recognize in this news story a revelation of the Good Shepherd. So many parallels exist, between the visible reality and the behind-the-scenes story of redemption, that I suspect someone could fill a book with particulars. I will offer only a brief introduction.
First, the buried miners, trapped and in fear for their lives, remind us of the world of desperate souls in need of hope and promise of rescue.
Next, family and friends keeping watch represent the fellowship of those standing in prayer, sounding the alarm, crying out to God for His intervention.
Then, the experts, financiers, technicians, and others with the means to intervene demonstrate the Church at work - the rescue team - the Body of Christ using what God provides to search for the lost and to reach those as good as dead.
Finally, the rescued miners illustrate the new birth, as the trapped are released from bondage, lifted to freedom to join the family already seated with Christ in heavenly places.
And for this purpose, the Church exists. We don’t do the saving. Jesus does. How He works is through this Body. While He made provision for the hereafter at Calvary, nailing the sin of the world to the cross, and destroying the works of the devil, He gives us responsibility to bring that Good News to those in the here and now. Our job is to bring the Savior and His newness of life to those dead in trespasses and sin.
This isn’t a gift for a chosen few. God’s design is for everyone to experience, now, the abundant life, to know and walk with Jesus through our wilderness journey home to the Father. None of God’s creatures was meant to walk alone in the dark.
Perhaps the most poignant and powerful picture of the work of Christ in and through the Church was portrayed when one individual rescuer became the first person to take the ride, in the narrow capsule, down the long pipeline to the chamber where the miners waited. This “missionary,” not unlike Jesus, Himself, put his own life on the line to reach the men in the pit.
This is a wonderful picture of Salvation! We who have been blessed to be part of the Church of the Firstborn have our work cut out for us as Christ‘s body in the world. And, what a joyful occupation it is!
Let’s pray the veil is lifted from the eyes of every tribe and nation, language and religion, to see and hear the message of redemption through what these thirty-three men have lived to tell.
"I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness...And I will lead the blind in a way that they know not, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them...
“But this is a people robbed and plundered, they are all of them trapped in holes and hidden in prisons; they have become a prey with none to rescue, a spoil with none to say, "Restore!" Who among you will give ear to this, will attend and listen for the time to come?” ---Isaiah 42:6-7,16,22-23
You were kind enough to leave a comment on one of my pieces so I thought I'd check out some of your writing. I love this. My father is from Temuco, Chile. All my aunts, uncles, and cousins are still there. What a blessing to read this piece. I love the parallels you draw between the miners and the lost world. What a great picture of what Jesus did for us in that rescue worker who entered the capsule himself, and an encouragement to us that this is how God wants us to help others-by entering into their lives and problems. I can sense how much you love your Savior and others. Thank you.