The eyes of millions were glued to their screens as they followed every new twist in the story of the 33 trapped miners in Chile. 700 metres (2300 feet) below the surface of the earth, in darkness, surrounded above and below and on all sides by total rock, the miners were trapped in that San Jose mine for 69 days.
After 17 days of zero signals from above or below, the miners received a signal that there would eventually be a way out; a way up to the surface. A Chilean rescue plan was in the works but it would take months for them to perform the rescue. Such a message in the darkness of an incredibly bleak situation must have given the 33 miners hope.
The Beautiful Door
Earlier than anticipated, on day 69 the final stages of the rescue operation were implemented from above. A specially designed shoulder-width wire capsule, with a door, pushed its way down the 700 metres. How could the emotions and elation of the miners be described at that point – when they saw the small wire cylinder capsule reach down into their dark cell and the ‘beautiful’ door opened!
The Critical Individual Choice
The 33 miners had individual choices to make. They had to be rescued individually. One at a time, they
had to choose to enter that door and put their trust in the quality of the work done above. They had to trust the rescue equipment physically to bring them up out of the darkness to the light – to save them. Did they have questions like: what would it be like in that claustrophobic cage, barely wide enough for one man’s shoulders? What if there was a mechanical breakdown and they got stuck somewhere in the shaft? What if their bodies couldn’t stand the rotating motion and all the other changes of being lifted 700 metres after 69 days of being in the depths of the earth?
Work from Above Had to be Trusted
Trust. Trust .The first miner chose to enter the door, completely depending on the rescue machine designed and operated by humans above. The wire capsule was lowered a second time to the very spot where the miners were. Another miner had to make a personal choice – will I or will I not?
You say you are describing a ludicrous scenario. The choice would be obvious to each of them. Not to enter the rescue capsule through its open door would be to remain in darkness and eventual death. Who else could they trust to rescue them? They were absolutely helpless on their own. Trust this rescue capsule and enter the door or perish. Those were the options. But they were options.
Spiritual Lessons for Reflection
Reality to Face – Sinners are trapped in the darkness of their sin and at a great distance from God. The Bible clearly teaches we can do nothing to save ourselves and we cannot bring ourselves up to God. (Romans 5:6) We are fundamentally flawed by sin. Our situation by birth is dark – we are all sinners, estranged from God. (Romans 3:23) We desperately needed a Saviour. Individually we must be rescued or we will perish.
Response from Above – The Lord Jesus Christ came down to earth – what a distance! He came down to rescue trapped sinners. He successfully dealt with the problem of our sin. He took the sinners punishment by dying on the Cross. He was born to die for our sins! Amazing. But it was God’s incredible Rescue Mission to save trapped sinners. The quality of His work was perfect!
Simplicity of the Plan – By Christ’s death on the Cross, the door was opened. It was a very costly undertaking on God’s part, but completely free for trapped sinners. Just like the Chilean Rescue, it was designed and implemented from ‘Above’. No work is required below. Any work done below in additions or adjustments would only be an interference with the design from Above – and would be totally unacceptable. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Choice to Enter – Although the rescue is for all, individually people must enter. One at a time people enter. You can’t enter with your friends or family. You must enter by yourself. They then have their own choice to make about whether they will stay in their cell of sin trapped in spiritual darkness or enter the same door.
Which is the more ludicrous scenario?
- that miners would choose to trust something designed by fellow-humans or to die physically. Or,
- that sinners would choose to trust God Himself or perish eternally.
It is not a matter of trusting something designed by humans. That’s what the miners had to do. When it comes to your spiritual salvation from your sins and from perishing in Hell, you must trust God Himself and put your personal faith in Jesus Christ as your Saviour. You must choose to enter salvation’s door or you will definitely perish. Trust Him and He will lift you up; He will bring you out – out of danger into eternal safety; He will save you.
The Need to Trust – The miners had to place their trust in something they had nothing to do with. Your faith will not save you, but it will bring you inside the door; but the rescue depends 100% on the reliability of what came down from above. Christ is the One who came down from Above and you can trust Him completely for your salvation.
Reason to Celebrate – Tears and hugs on earth when the 33 miners were saved. Definitely. The Bible says that when just one sinner repents here on earth, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God above. If you enter the door and allow Christ to lift you up out of your sins – your life will never be the same. And you will forever be indebted to the One who saved you. Jesus Christ.
Jesus said: “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved.” John 10:9
Do you have any plans to enter? What’s available to you today may not be tomorrow. The miners had a choice. So do you.
Graphics above from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11485392