Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Miracle in Chile

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
         And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Psalm 103: 1

"Thank god, thank god. They are all safe. It's a miracle!" – Pedro Cortez

Several nights ago I watched as the third man was lifted from the collapsed Chilean mine a half mile below the surface. I was overwhelmed with a few thoughts.

The first was gratitude that they all made it out alive. They were buried underground for 69 days, the first seventeen of which no one knew whether they were alive or not. They survived on painfully limited rations of food and somehow managed to keep their sanity.

The second was the absurdity of it all. I mean really? What the heck are human beings doing a half mile underground? If that doesn’t clearly show the degree to which we have fallen out of balance with this world then I don’t know what does.

The third was the pomp and ceremony of it. There are people who survive life or death situations every single day. The vast majority of them go unnoticed. I was getting a bit irritated by it.

But then I started reading articles about the men and I was overwhelmed when I read this one quote. A 63 year old miner, who has been working in that mine since he was twelve, immediately collapsed to his knees when he got to the surface.  He gave a prayer of thanks for what he and his companions had survived.

And then it hit me. It REALLY hit me. It was a miracle that any of them made it out… but all the more a miracle that they ALL survived. And I started to understand why there was so much attention paid to this. The world was witnessing a miracle happening live, right before our very eyes.

Of course all kinds of science and technological know how are what enabled the rescuers to drill the pipes so that the miners could escape. But think about how much had to go right for this result to come about.

The cave-in happened in such a way that no one was critically hurt. That is a miracle in and of itself. There was a miraculous mixture of personalities down there that prevented the morale from dropping too low. Several of the trapped miners were known as the folks in the crew who make everyone laugh. Their gifts of comedy helped keep everyone sane and balanced.

They also had exceptional leadership. The supervisor who was trapped with the rest of the miners had the leadership skills to ration the food for the first seventeen days at levels that would make any grown man want to fight. But they did not break down in a catastrophic way. In the face of a seemingly insurmountable challenge he helped the rest believe that they all could make it if they shared what they had. There was no reason to lose even a single life while there was still hope for survival.

And after seventeen days relief came.

Miracles do still happen. They happen everyday.

We have come up with clever ways of ignoring them or explaining them away as something else; chance, luck, science, coincidence.

But there is nothing that is outside of God’s control. All that we are and all that we have to give can work for the good of God. Sometimes it comes in the form of a doctor who has been gifted with amazing knowledge that saves physical lives. Other times it is a child gifted with a smile that saves emotional lives.

Either way a life is saved. And when we are able to see how we touch the lives of others each and every day by spreading love into the world we will see the miracles that are happening all around us.

It isn’t the miracles that have disappeared from this world; it is that we have lost the faith that gives us the desire to look for them. 

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A Convo With God by Clarence Mitchell III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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