The Word MIRACLE is in constant use in everyday language. It is used about the most ‘ordinary’ of circumstances such as when your Footy Teams wins the Premiership! Or when your tiny tot eats all their vegetables served up for dinner. Perhaps even when your teenager makes their bed without you having to ask them six times, or helps clean up the dishes without being asked! These occurrences use the word MIRACLE as metaphor.
But when it is a real MIRACLE – that’s when you need to get down on your knees and give thanks.
As I write this I am still focused on the wonder and miraculous saving of the lives of 33 Chilean Miners, trapped deep beneath the ground for 69 days. All are now safe, back up on the surface, receiving medical attention, and the love of their families and friends. These much loved men have been in the constant thoughts and prayers of all who were ‘living’ at Camp Hope, and many millions of other believers around the world. I myself knelt in a prayer of thanks to Almighty God, as the final miner, the very last to be brought to the surface, Luis Urzua, 54, took his first breath of fresh air for 69 days, bringing a joyous ending to an ordeal that has riveted the world.
Many people say it was a miracle none of the men were killed. Others say it is a miracle the men were found. Yet others say it was a miracle of engineering that has finally brought them to the surface today. I say all those things are true miracles; ones that have been prayed for, long and hard, with true faith, by the myriads of believers who trust in the Lord God. Their prayers were heard and answered!
The miners themselves are to be commended for their faith in the face of this gargantuan mining disaster. Ask them and they will tell you openly and honestly, that their faith sustained them, not that the secular press has been very interested in this fact.
On Monday the Guardian (of course) had a mean little piece with the headline “Chilean miners: Rival churches claim credit for the miracle” and the standfirst “Evangelical, Adventist and Catholic clerics are vying to stamp their own faith on the expected rescue of the trapped men”.
In a CNA report from Santiago we were informed that the miners had requested Christian icons (statues and holy pictures) be sent down to them. Their Christian Faith, their prayers, the setting up of a makeshift chapel where they could gather together in prayer……, none of these things were reported on prime time television or mainstream media that I can discover.
One of the first things the miners’ relatives did at the pithead, while it still looked as though they must be all dead, was to set up a statue of St Lawrence, patron saint of miners (see above), who in statues of him in this role movingly wears a miner’s hat and carries a miner’s lamp. And the whole rescue mission was placed under his patronage: it was called simply Operation San Lorenzo. (Link)
“I have been with God and with the devil,” said the second miner to be saved, Mario Sepulveda, 40, summing up his ordeal and miraculous salvation. “I seized the hand of God, it was the best hand. I always knew God would get us out of there,” he said.
The health of these men will be closely monitored over the coming months, and they will no doubt carry emotional scars, but without a doubt they have been spiritually enriched. They will require our ongoing prayer support, but I feel confident that each and every last one of them, will live their remainder of their lives in the sure knowledge that God knows them intimately, loves them deeply and smiles on them continually.
As Revelation 7:12 tells us:
They sang, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Hillsong: You Are Near – Blessing and honour and glory and power, forever and ever.