Some countries get a lot of news coverage: Russia, China, England, Australia and Canada, to name a few of the major ones. But Chile? I hadn't thought much about that nation until recently when news media began focusing on what seemed to be just another run-of-the-mill mining tragedy. A mine had collapsed and rescuers were frantically searching for survivors. It wasn't until it was discovered that miners had, in fact, survived the collapse and were trapped deep below the surface that it became a different story.
For the weeks that followed this discovery, global audiences watched the news each night to see how the effort to save the men was progressing. The suspense gripped us because we know that people rarely survive these types of disasters. Was it possible the miners could go crazy, like in an episode of "X-Files"? How would their hope hold out? How could they be saved when they were so far below the surface? After seeing how quickly stories can go from bad to worse -- such as the Gulf oil spill -- one had to wonder what the future held for the trapped miners. We all hoped for the best, but there was a very real possibility this could turn to horror.
Then these men were saved.
A drill reached the miners and created a hole big enough to send down a container to save the crew, one man at a time. Chile celebrated, the families of the crew rejoiced, and the world watched as prayers from across the globe were answered. Who ever thought these hard-working men would have their faces in every home with a television? They're now famous for remaining patient while waiting to be saved.
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I remember someone once saying why the musical group The Carpenters was so well-received at their debut: "The world was ready for something good." After so much angst, so many failures, so many disasters -- from Hurricane Katrina, to the great loss of life in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the harm the spilled oil has done to the Gulf -- we were all in need of good news.
All bitterness in the past is put aside for now, because the world has found goodness -- a reminder of our beginnings, when God made man and woman and felt satisfied with what he had created.
We were made in God's image and we need reminders that despite the threat of the walls collapsing, and darkness overwhelming us in our ordinary lives, there is something within us that helps us get through tough times. It is in our makeup, and though we have screwed up in the past and continue to make mistakes, we are also capable of great things.
Our faith in a good future is an important thing.
Jesus rocked the disciples, when he said, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" (John 14:12).
In commissioning them to do greater things, Jesus told them they would perform miracles; they would speak a new message of hope to the world, of a place where God's goodness is shown, and people work together to end evil and destroy the darkness.
It is good to have heartwarming stories like the rescues in Chile because it gives us hope.
It is also a good reminder to the people of the church that the world is still looking for good things, and the love of Christ is the greatest thing of all.