“The miners were saved one by one”
A Modern-day Example of How the Savior Redeems Mankind
In August of 2010 all the world was shocked by the news of the Chilean miners trapped 2000 feet underground after a terrible mining accident. We desperately waited for word of their survival. Once we learned they had all endured the initial accident, it was a race against time to see if they could even be rescued before their oxygen supply and rations ran out. After a harrowing sixty-nine days, all thirty-three miners were saved. There was only one way the miners could be saved, and that was one by one—a modern day example of how the Savior of all mankind redeems his children.
Imagine being the miners. These men spent their livelihood underground. It was not unusual for them to be in harm’s way. When the first initial rumblings of the collapse began, they gave no thought to their demise. It wasn’t until they realized their only exit route was completely blocked off that they understood the severity of their situation. Most of these men were practicing Catholics, and they called on their faith to sustain them. They organized prayer vigils, gave comfort and support to each other, rationed their food and battery power for light, and waited.
I’ll never forget watching this event in the news. It was never a question of whether or not the Chilean government would try to save these men. The question was simply, how would they do it? They did not have the expertise, equipment, or manpower to make an attempt viable enough to facilitate a rescue without endangering the miners further. They asked for help from nations around the world. NASA had the means to begin a rescue attempt that would drill a second shaft down into the pit and lower a special cage that one man could fit inside. It was a risky prospect, but it was the only hope they had. It would take time to line up all the variables to ensure the best safety effort, but the effort was under way.
Once the tunnel was drilled, the cage was lowered down with a rescue worker inside. He helped the first miner by harnessing him in and telling him how to handle the ascent. I was glued to the television in our house as we waited for the “breaking news alert” that would show the cage return to the surface. I’ll never forget how I cried crocodile-size tears of joy when the first miner came out of the cage and collapsed in the arms of his loved ones who had been waiting for him on the surface.
During the long hours of the rescue mission, I remember stopping everything I was doing to watch the cage emerge thirty-three times with the miners, then one last time with the rescue worker who had descended down below to help. Each time was as emotional as the first. Family members encircled the rescued miners with hugs, and I shook with joy, sobbing for each one as if I knew them personally. The look of relief and joy on their faces was unmistakable. You could tell the experience had changed each man for the better—he would never forget what it was like to be lost and ultimately found again.
Seeking to Rescue the Lost
Have you ever felt helpless, watching your trapped family members caught in a pit of transgression, knowing there is nothing you can do to save them? You’ve tried to teach them the truth, you’ve led by example, and you’ve even walked with them in their poor choices. Through it all they still remain in darkness, much like the Chilean miners buried under ground. You wish you could dig the tunnel to reach them, strap them on your back and carry them up to safety, but it doesn’t work that way. You love them, you teach them, but you cannot save them. Only our Savior, Jesus Christ, can do that.
Trust in the Lord and Acknowledge Him in All Things
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”(Proverbs3:5)
One of the hardest things to do is to trust the Lord when it comes to the timing of our loved ones’ redemption. We read in the scriptures how He made miracles happen. We’ve heard from prophets of old and from modern-day revelation that His gospel will bring peace and salvation to all mankind. But when you see your own children wander in darkness and all efforts you make to save them fail, you wonder if the gospel is still true for your family. I’ve been there. I’ve watched the cruel powers of Satan bind my family with chains of destruction that I cannot even begin to fight against. It is frightening, lonely, and overwhelming—but only if I fool myself into thinking that I am supposed to be their savior. I am not. I must trust the One who says He is the Savior of everyone, then step back and let Him do His work.
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:6)
When we trust the Savior, we allow Him to be the one who goes down the road of transgression to find our loved one, to reach for his hand, to help him in the cage, and to come back up to the surface. We trust the Lord’s time frame in this process. Things may get harder for our loved ones before they get better, but we trust His timing. We’ve seen His everlasting power of redemption change our heart—the same will happen for our loved ones. We need to be patient with the plan.
The story of the Chilean miners is symbolic of spiritual redemption. While the miners’ entrapment was not caused by transgression on their part, it illustrates so beautifully the redemption of those who have fallen in Satan’s snare. I admire the family members of the Chilean miners. They waited above ground, many for weeks on end, not knowing if their family members were even alive. They waited even longer as each one was rescued one by one. They had no power to speed up the process; they were at the mercy of the method. They had to be patient. And through it all, they prayed. These were people of great faith.
“Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.” (D&C 6:36)
We can learn so much from this true-life story of redemption. Especially if we remember that our Savior holds each of us and our loved ones in the hollow of His hands. Christ will save us according to the manner of our faith and our readiness to come unto Him, one by one. That is what makes Him the Savior.
Nanette O'Neal loves the gospel and is very happy to share her testimony on LDS Blogs. She is a convert to the church and still feels the spirit burn strong within her heart. She graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts with a degree in music education and has taught children and adults in the private and public sphere for over twenty years. Nanette continues to study the gospel and the art of writing. She writes weekly inspirational articles on her blog and is currently working on an LDS fantasy novel series, A Doorway Back to Forever. You can find her at NanetteONeal.blogspot.com. Nanette has a wonderful husband, talented son, and three beautiful dogs.