By W. Ryan Hall
Pastor, Fleming Island United Methodist Church
Fleming Island, Florida
First, read John 1:4-5
Lunch! They were tucking into their empanadas and chapapele when everything suddenly shook. The men rushed into the tunnels to determine what had happened. They soon discovered that a rock fall had blocked their passage and so began their vigil, trapped more than half a mile underground.
In August, 2010, 33 Chilean miners were stuck 2,300 feet in the earth and it took more than two months to get them out. Their indefinite entombment engulfed their families in dark grief and captured the attention of the world.
The mine where those men remained trapped for 69 days had previously been cited for safety violations. Had the company taken care of those violations, the men would have been able to use escape ladders to climb to safety. The day of the rock fall, the ladders were not there.
In the midst of that deep darkness, veteran miner José Henríquez, shined a light. The men organized themselves into a team to work to survive and overcome together. They declared that Henríquez would be in charge of prayer and would guide the prayers of the men. And so he became the group’s pastor, leading prayers and praise twice daily. Twenty of the men committed or recommitted their lives to Christ through their ordeal.
In an interview after the rescue Henríquez said, “I believe that the Word is what transforms a man. We know that the Word of the Lord is not merely paper and ink … In there, I preached to them the Word, they sang praises to God … Sure there were different personalities, 33 different ways of looking at things, but only one interest: to believe in a living God who could take us out of there. That was what made the difference, and that living God answered our prayer.”†
You do not need to undergo a trial as extreme as this one to know that the world can get pretty dark. How quickly we can become trapped and engulfed.
What do we do in the midst of the darkness? Do we seek the Light that is the Word of God? Do we get serious about prayer and praise? Do we find ways to bond together in our common predicament? Could it be that God has already given to us what we need to outlast and defeat the darkness? Do we truly believe that no darkness of the world can overcome the light of Christ?
In the same interview, Henríquez was asked if he considered himself a hero because of what he had done in the mine.
“No, not at all. I believe the hero is named Jesus Christ. He is the only hero worth mentioning…He is who deserves the honor and the glory. [He] is the King of kings and Lord of lords. That is the True North that I know.”
1. What is the deepest darkness you have experienced? How did Jesus get you through?
2. What would it look like for you to bear the light of Christ into the darkness? Who else is with you to help you do this?
3. Who do you know that is darkness right now? How can you help them know that no darkness can overcome Christ’s light?