Along with the world I have been watching the Chilean miners come up one by one from the depths of the earth. Their responses and reactions to their freedom were compelling to watch. I watched a news segment with a clip from each re-birth from the ground of all thirty-three this morning moving me to tears and laughter. What touched me most was the ones who quietly kneeled and thanked their God. Yes, they thanked their rescuers and hugged on their loved ones, but first they took a moment to say to God ‘Thank you, you did not forget me and I do not forget you’. Again I was reminded of the Psalm I mention so often here:
Psalms 139:7-12 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
I keep coming back again and again to this Psalm – not matter our circumstances, physical or emotional we are not separated from God or forgotten by him. In the dark heat of the depths of the earth God was with each of the miners – some know it and acknowledge it, others don’t, but nevertheless He was there. The question that remains and is unanswered is if God was with them why did He allow them to be trapped? God has never promised to keep us out of trouble and difficulty, but often we find ourselves in the deep pits of life we wonder why God has abandoned us. Why is a question that we don’t get a satisfactory answer for, that we can ask endlessly and never find peace. On the Grief Share course DVD’s I remember one commentator who said that even of Job knew why God allowed his family to be taken away from him it didn’t change the fact that in the morning he still had to face an empty breakfast table. Sometimes knowing why does help us. When we ask ‘why?’, God answers, ‘I am with you’.
Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Unlike for these 33 miners rescue does not always come, sometimes leaving the pit is not possible. May we learn to take comfort in knowing that God is with us no matter the horrible circumstances, even the deepest darkest pit, even if there is no Phoenix 2 in sight.