by Patrick Medlock
“…I was with God and with the devil. And I reached out for God”
– Mario Sepulveda, the second miner saved in Chile
This past week, the nation and the world were riveted by the events in San Jose MINE, Chile. Thirty-three miners had spent approximately 70 agonizing days trapped a half-mile underground. Here are five parallels that I would make between the physical souls rescued in Chile and the spiritual lost souls that we need to be concerned about within our own sphere of influence.
1. It is easy to get lost, but not a gimme to get be saved.
No one knew whether these miners were dead or alive until 17 days into their ordeal. I am sure many had given up on them. But, clearly God wanted them to be found. Soul-winning efforts in the church need to mimic the efforts put forth by those in Chile to rescue these miners. By doing what is right in evangelism, benevolence, edification, and consecration, we are saving ourselves as well as others (I Timothy 4:16).
2. There was an appropriate sense of urgency once the miners were found to be alive.
No one had survived as long trapped underground as these 33 men. But, once Chilean officials knew they were alive, every day efforts were put forth in planning, design, and implementation with no expense spared to save these men from death. Should we feel that way about the lost spiritual souls we see every single day (Acts 26:28)? Extreme dedication is needed to pull off the most effective rescue mission, whether physical or spiritual.
3. Every jeopardized soul is precious and beloved.
Each man had their own blood drawn during the wait. Each man received their own food, and their own nausea-preventing liquid diet. And during the rescue’s climax, each man had his own scheduled turn riding up the slender cage, 20 minutes upward in a skinny ark to salvation. Any and all needed saving equally, and individually. Can’t we find some lesson to apply to those in need of a spiritual rescue? “Yes,” Peter would say! “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9).
4. God answered somebody’s salvation prayer.
These men needed time and space to actually be rescued. They needed everything to go right during each ascent and descent. I find it interesting that we don’t pray enough that the time, space and efforts put forth to save souls and keep souls saved are successful (Colossians 4:2-6).
5. Successful rescues are indeed a time for rejoicing.
Chile exploded in joy and relief at the first breakthrough rescue just after midnight Wednesday morning. The shepherd and the woman Jesus references in Luke 15 said to their friends and neighbors, “Rejoice with me, for I have found [my sheep or coin] which was lost!” (v. 6 & 9). It is a wonderful thing when we can rescue a soul from a fiery hell (Jude 21-23).
Let this miner rescue be a reinforcement of our identity, our mission and ministry.
Pat ministers with the Northwest church in Detroit, Mich.
by Patrick Medlock