I don't know how many of you watched the rescue of the Chilean miners yesterday, but I spent a good portion of my afternoon watching as that rescue capsule went up and down through that little hole in the ground, bringing those men who had been trapped back to the surface. It was amazing and brought tears to my eyes.
Watching the rescue of the last miner with my girls reminded me that we can use simple events in our lives to share truth with our kids. The rescue of the miners provides a perfect picture of hope and redemption that mirrors the way Christ rescued us. This is a great opportunity to weave a discussion of Jesus into an everyday conversation about this event. You can use this uplifting story with your kids to provide a visual picture of what it is that Jesus did for us. So, grab your newspaper or play the video footage on the web and share this story with your kids. Use it as a visual reminder of how Christ pulled us out of darkness and into the light.
- Read a newspaper story or watch the video of the men being rescued with your kids. Ask your kids what they think it might have been like to be trapped for 69 days not really knowing if anyone was going to be able to get them out. Tell your kids that before we knew Christ, that is what we were like -- trapped in our sin with no way out.
- Ask your kids what they think it might have been like down in the mine. For 17 days, the miners had no lights but the small ones on their helmets. They ate a tablespoon of tuna fish and a little bit of milk every 48 hours. They had no idea if anyone on the surface was even still looking for them. Their situation probably seemed hopeless. They were trapped with no way out. That's what life is like without Jesus. We are trapped in our sin, completely cut off from God. We live in darkness.
- On the 17th day, though, those miners heard a blessed sound -- the sound of a hammer cutting through the rock. They knew they had been found. Can you imagine the joy those men felt when they heard that hammer? Each of us can hear the sound of God's hammer. Revelation 3:20 tells us "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." Jesus knocks on the door of every heart, offering a chance to be rescued from the darkness.
- Even after the men in the mine knew that they were found, they had to wait to be rescued. Ask your kids what they think it must have been like to wait for two months for someone to get them out of that mine. How do you think they passed the time? Do you think there were moments of despair that they would ever get out? Sometimes in our lives, we walk through dark seasons. Times where we can't see the light, and we wonder if God has forgotten us. It seems as if there is no way out even though we know that God is in charge. In these times, we're a lot like the miners waiting to be rescued. We believe that Jesus saved us, but we have a hard time seeing how He's going to use the despair and trial we're experiencing. In those times, like the miners, we simply have to have faith that God is in control, just as the miners had faith that, even though they couldn't see the rescuers above them, they were working hard to rescue them.
- Ask your kids to imagine the moment that the drill broke through the mine ceiling, finishing the shaft that would take the miners to the surface. Ask them how they would have felt. Then have them imagine being the first one to step into the capsule that would take them to the surface. That first miner took a leap of faith to get in the capsule. It had never been pulled up with anyone inside it. No one was absolutely sure that it wouldn't get stuck or break on the way back up. Just like the first miner, we have to step out in faith to follow Jesus. We can't see Him. Trusting Jesus takes faith. Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." That first miner had hoped for rescue, but he still couldn't see the people rescuing him. Just like the miner, we can't see Jesus as He rescues us from whatever pit we are in, but faith allows us to be certain that he is there.
- Last, watch the miners faces as the capsule is opened at the top of the rescue shaft. Study the joy on the faces of the miners as they see their loved ones again for the first time. These men truly understand what it means to be rescued from certain death, and the joy they feel at being rescued is all over their faces. The rescuers had to give all the miners sunglasses because the light at the top would have been too bright for their eyes after living in darkness for 69 days. That is what it is like for us when we accept God's rescue through Jesus. We step out of a world full of sin and darkness and into the light of Jesus. The joy we receive from knowing that Jesus rescued us from a lifetime separated from God is incomparable. Our world has gone from dark and dreary to full of light and joy.
Be sure to rejoice with your children that these 33 men were rescued yesterday. It truly is nothing short of a miracle. Pray with your kids and thank God for providing the resources and ingenuity that allowed people to create the machines and gear needed to get all these men safely back to the top. Then, thank God for rescuing you from a lifetime in a pit of darkness and separation from Him.