Chilean Mine Disaster, San Jose Mine, Chile
When the 33 miners walked into the mine on August 5, none knew they wouldn’t walk out at the close of the work day. Quite the contrary – they remained in their subterranean prison for 69 days. Jonah, a reluctant prophet, could probably relate to this story. God instructed him to warn the people of Nineveh to repent of their wickedness. Instead, Jonah chose to run in the opposite direction. He ended up in the belly of a big fish for three days and three nights after the sailors tossed him overboard in the raging sea in order to save their own lives. From inside the fish, Jonah prayed to God,
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” (Jonah 2:2)
What went through those miners’ minds day after day so deep beneath the surface? Regrets over harsh words spoken that morning? Or, joy because the words “I love you,” were spoken accompanied by a hug.
Upon exiting, one man claimed he met God and the devil – and God won because he emerged alive. The youngest man – only 19 – a father of a young child recently joined the mining team just months before the mine crash. While in the depths, another man became a father when his baby girl was born.
Secrets unfolded when a wife discovered her man had been cheating on her—his mistress waited for him greeting him with an embrace. His wife hung back betrayed, hurt and embarrassed.
Authorities say the mine will be closed forever—shut physically. However, what was said, done and felt within those cavernous walls will never be forgotten in the minds and hearts of the many people involved both inside and out of the mine depths. Memories of potential death, chance at a new life, fear, joy, relief, regrets—those emotions won’t soon be put to rest.
I wonder what path each life will choose next…the same road or a totally different one.