Monday, August 30, 2010

Hell on Earth

My heart has been wrenched by the stories and video images of the 33 trapped Chilean miners. Seventeen days after their August 5th mine collapsed sealing the men 2300+ feet under the earth, the jubilant news reached families waiting for word that contact had been made and that the men were alive. But then the reality of the rescue effort began to set in. As if 17 days were not enough to be trapped beneath the earth, the word is that it may take another four months, until Christmas, to free the men.

Can you imagine being trapped underground for 4+ months in darkness? And it gets worse. The temperatures reach 95 degrees with a humidity level as high as 85%. There is no toilet and only one cot. Threat of further collapse is possible and the only truly secure place is a fortified room the size of a living room in a home…for 33 men. If there was ever a picture of hell on earth, this must be it.

Efforts have begun in earnest to keep the men sane. The eyes of their country and the world are upon them. Our hearts go out to them. As you are sitting reading this in comfort, they are sweating, and hungry, and bored, and scared, and tired, and lonely…they are in hell.

But it’s not hell. Hell is actually much worse. I cannot escape the desperation of the Chilean government as they use every resource available to comfort these men as they work to free them. They are even consulting with the likes of NASA regarding survival in isolation. And all of this is as it should be. The hell on earth these men are enduring is real and it is awful.

But my greater concern is that too many Christians, way too many of us, ignore the reality of a hell that is much worse than anything these men are enduring. The temperatures are higher, the sanitary conditions are infinitely worse. There is no access to food or water. There is no cot to sleep on. The isolation is suffocating. There is no relief. And this condition of existence is not for four months or four years or even four centuries…but for eternity. And while people around us are drilling their way toward entrapment in this forever hell, too many of us do not seem to care. And we use our resources more on making our personal temporal life on earth more comfortable rather than on efforts to rescue those that are doomed.

So as you follow this story about these men. Say a prayer for them. And then consider your neighbor, or the lady at Walmart, or the person that sits in class with you. And say a prayer for them as well…or maybe do something more.

1 comment:

Brett said...

Too right bro. We need a daily reality check so that we will take seriously our vocation as 'ministers of reconciliation'.