Thursday, October 14, 2010


While I was watching TV tonight, I saw footage of one of the Chilean miners emerging from the rescue capsule for his first taste of fresh air in 69 days.

As he embraced his wife and the crowd cheered in loud cries of victory, I could feel tears begin to well up in my eyes. The power of that moment was profound. Reporters claimed that there were no dry eyes in the media area as hope for each of the 33 trapped lives was fulfilled one by one.

It occurred to me as I watched that I feel a similar sense of wonder when I see a birth or a baptism take place, and as I thought about it more tonight, it makes sense why. The mine collapse is a tragedy that is strikingly symbolic of the broken condition of our world. The fall of mankind has been trapping all who ever lived on earth in the web of personal sin and in the sins of others. We all fall victim to the domino-like consequences that bind us in illness, broken relationships, fear, insecurity, and feelings of hopelessness. As we wrestle to break free ourselves, sin just seems to entangle us more. The harder we try, the more we fail. In the darkness, there is no way out.

That is until the drill breaks through from the surface, and the path to life becomes possible for us. Jesus broke through into this world when he was born, and like that precious rescue capsule "The Phoenix," his death and resurrection offer us a safe transport to the surface. If we get in and take that ride with him, we transfer from certain death to life.

When I think about the unimaginable suffering that those miners endured, it's a powerful reminder for me to give thanks to God, not only for the miraculous rescue of all 33 lives, but also for the even greater rescue effort God has put into place for each of us living in this broken world today. Chilean President Sebastian Pinera spoke about the impending rescue in language that mirrors the rescue mission of Christ:

"It will be a true rebirth, not just for the miners but for the spirit of unity, strength, faith and hope they have shown our country and the world."

When we choose to turn from our sins and follow Christ, we experience a true rebirth into eternal life that can never perish, spoil, or fade away. If you haven't yet chosen Jesus as your savior, consider the words of one young trapped miner who pondered the reasons for his 69-day suffering:

"God wanted me to stay here, I do not know why.

Maybe for me to change."

I don't always understand why God keeps me in a place of hardship, but I do know that God is working on changing me. God often wields suffering as a tool to get our attention before it's too late. Though we are trapped in a world that is filled with sorrow, hardship, evil, death, and pain, be assured that God's Spirit is working a rescue mission that is first spiritual and invisible but will soon become physical. We may not see it now, but gradually, he works to bring about change in our hearts so that we turn ever more toward Him. Remember that though you walk in darkness now, the rescue from death to life is only a prayer away.

Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. John 3:3-5

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

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