October 24

What an incredible story the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners continues to be. Here are some highlights from different news sources:

Trapped almost half a mile below the surface for about two months, they were ultimately saved by a nearly 24-hour rescue operation during which they were hoisted one by one to the surface. When the mine caved in, the men were thought to have died in the mining accident. Rescuers found them two and a half weeks later with a bore hole the width of a grapefruit. That tiny hole became an umbilical cord used to pass down hydration gels, water and food to keep them alive. The bigger shaft was later drilled to extract them. One of the heroes is Luis Urzúa, the shift foreman. For Urzúa, the command challenges began within moments of the mine collapse—he quickly ordered his men to huddle while he took three miners and scouted up the tunnel, searching for information on the massive cave-in. Correctly deducing that the men were trapped, Urzúa instituted a set of rules and regulations that were both methodically rigid and crucial to the men’s survival. He ordered that the mine’s stash of emergency food be rationed into minimal portions—two spoonfuls of tuna fish and half a glass of milk every 48 hours. With a white Nissan pickup truck as his office, Urzúa drew maps; divided the miners’ world into a work area, a sleep area and a sanitary facility; and used the headlights of mining trucks to simulate sunlight in an attempt to provide a semblance of routine to the men’s daily lives. Urzúa also kept the men on a 12-hour shift schedule.

How would you respond in such a situation? Those in high risk and emergency positions are trained in those areas, and the discipline of that training I’m sure was absolutely essential. Are you training yourself in the spiritual disciplines of Bible study, prayer and reflection to be ready when the crisis hits? Notice I said when not if. Being close to God in a time of crisis requires us to have trained and disciplined ourselves by being close to God all the time. That is reflected in Jesus’ response when Satan came calling in an extraordinary way. You remember how our Lord responded each time, don’t you? It is written…

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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