Dr. James C. Denison
President, Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, TX
Worship at the Chilean mine
Some of the 33 miners freed this week in Chile returned to the mouth of their mine for a private Mass yesterday. For many, it was their first time back since their dramatic rescue last Wednesday.
They were trapped in an area no larger than 165 square feet. For the first 17 days of their ordeal, they rationed their food. Their water tasted like machine oil. Then came their discovery and the boreholes that became their umbilical chords to life.
The miners are in various states of recovery this morning. Some are hospitalized. Others survived their 69-day ordeal in better condition. One said, “I’ve been married for 32 years and rarely told my wife I loved her. I just wanted to tell her how much I loved her.”
The 33 men have reportedly made a pact not to talk publicly about much of their underground experience. But we do know that Luis Urzua, the shift foreman, is one of the heroes of their story. He kept the men informed, organized, and hopeful. And from the beginning, he told them the truth.
One said of him, “We had a boss who every day said we must stay strong. If they find us, they find us. And if not, not.” Urzua said, “There was only one key. And even if the truth hurt, you have to say it.” The truth sustained them until they were set free.
Many people you know are trapped in a spiritual cavern. Unlike the Chilean miners, however, most don’t know their true condition. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) believe they will go to Heaven when they die. One in four (24%) have “no idea” what will happen after they die; 5% expect to come back in another life form; 5% believe they will simply cease to exist. Only one-half of 1% expect to go to Hell.
At the same time, only 41% of Americans have made a personal commitment to Christ as their Savior which is still important in their life today. Some researchers believe that as many as 70% of Americans, or 200 million people, are spiritually lost. The vast majority don’t know the truth about their spiritual condition.
How can you help? First, pray by name for someone you know to come to faith in Christ. Second, make sure he or she knows that you are a believer—leave a Bible on your desk, pray over a meal, or find another inoffensive way to demonstrate your faith. Third, ask the Holy Spirit to give you favor with this person, opening the door for you to talk about your Lord. And expect your Father to answer your prayer today.
What a privilege it must have been to join the effort which saved 33 men from a horrible death in Chile. What an even greater privilege it is to join God in helping someone step from eternal death to eternal life. Who will be in heaven because of you?
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