Mining For Hope

I read the other day that approximately one billion people watched the Chilean miner rescue. Can you image that? That is approximately 1 out of every 7 individuals in the entire world. I have a hard time even thinking of that many people. Here are some examples to help you picture the reality of one billion. One billion seconds ago it was 1959. If you stacked one billion pennies one on top of the other it would reach one thousand miles into the sky. That is a lot of pennies.

I completely understand the attraction to the story. Combine a gripping human drama with a little bit of time, add a dash of media sensation and a pinch of modern technology and bam! You have one billion viewers. I do believe something more is at play here than just entertainment. Last year 92 million people watched the Superbowl. Approximately 700 million people watched the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I would expect those two events are the epitome of entertainment. So what is driving the interest in the miner story?
It seems to me the theme of the rescue was wrapped up in one word; hope. As stories came out about each of the miners and their personal lives we became invested in the hope of rescue for these men. We heard about their families, their jobs, their struggles and their desire to live. We identified with the horror of being trapped and the frustration of being found, but not being saved.

The joy on the faces of the miners as they were rescued said more than any words could describe. Translation wasn’t necessary. We understood the exhausted relief expressed by each and every family member as they anxiously awaited news about their brothers, husbands and sons.

Now I want you to partake in an exercise with me. Consider this incredible story of tragedy and rescue. Consider these men who were lost and then found. Now imagine you were required to tell this story once a day, every day of your life. How would your feelings about the story change? By the time you had told the story 100, 500, or even 1000 times would you still be able to convey the hope that drove one billion people to stop everything they were doing to watch the story unfold?

I think you probably have figured out where we are going here. How much more hopeful is the story of the gospel than that of the miners? How much more incredible is the story of the God of the universe sending His son to earth to rescue each and every one of us from our hopeless dark and desolate lives? Unfortunately, the sensational story of the gospel sometimes loses its luster as we grow callused to the parts of the story we know so well.

Each one of us has to fight the battle of forgetting why the grace of God is so amazing. The gospel is the penultimate story of hope. Clearly our culture has demonstrated its hunger for hope as evidenced by the incredible response to the story of the lost miners. As we are reminded of the glory of God’s grace in the gospel maybe we can direct their search towards the only hope that lasts.

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