I, along with 1.2 billion people sat transfixed. Each time the small capsule rose out of the narrow hole drilled through hundreds of rocky feet to the dark cavern entrapping thirty-three Chilean miners for 69 days, tears filled my eyes and a smile lined my face. The world watched thirty three miracles rise from what should have been certain, slow, agonizing death. Even after all the kudos for the NASA technology, the hard work ofAmerican engineers, the wisdom and leadership of one Chilean miner and the grit of Sebastian Pinera, the Chilean president who would not give up, the flawless rescue of the miners still seemed incredible.
Why did this story touch our hearts so deeply? Why did so many of us hover close to our televisions with tears in our eyes, cheers on our lips and hope in our hearts? I like what Peter Johnson said on Fox and Friends on October 14th, 2010, "As we agitated, it gave us hope that someone would come for us if we were in the depths."
Let's admit it. Each of us has privately wondered, if I were lost in the mountains, would someone come looking for me? If I lay unconscious on the side of the road, would someone stop or even bother to call 911? If I lost everything through fire or foreclosure, would anyone even care to help me out of my hole?
Our children search for hope as well. They ask, "If I'm failing at school, will someone notice? If I'm constantly falling off the educational ladder entrenched in the shifting sands of public school bureaucracy, will someone be there to catch me? If I'm bullied, molested or fall through the cracks of parental neglect, will someone come to my rescue? If I'm trapped in a dysfunctional family among violent adults who wallow in their own self-imposed tombs of addiction where there seems no way out, will someone pull me through a tunnel of hope to the light of success?"
Peter Johnson said, "Hope brings resolve and resolve brings success." As youth workers, we offer hope, we encourage resolve and we can give a blueprint for success. All it takes is believing that our students can be better than they are and pointing them to the One who is the Miracle Worker, Jesus Christ. "For in Him, we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28)." He is our Hope. Through Him, we and our students can climb out of tombs of despair to changed lives and life beyond.
Thank you, Lord, for using thirty-three miners to remind us that You are worth our hope, that all things are possible through You. Or, as the Chilean miners proclaimed on the t-shirts they wore when they made re-entry, "Gracias, Senor.'