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FIRST-PERSON: Desperation preceded the ‘Miner Miracle’

WITCHITA, Kan. (BP)–Early Monday morning I read in Mark 11:22-24 the promise of Jesus to his disciples:

“Have faith in God…. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

As I meditated on these words of our Lord I reflected on the scenes from yesterday’s news coverage of the successful rescue of the nine miners in Somerset, Pa. This rescue operation was dubbed by Fox News as “A Miner Miracle.” From accounts of the rescued miners, their families and the governor, a whole lot of praying had been going on, from the initial catastrophe until they hoisted the last miner to safety.

I wonder if an element in the praying that took place in Somerset last Thursday through early Sunday morning is perhaps a missing ingredient in a lot of my prayers, which is a sense of total helplessness and a desperate need for God’s miraculous power.

One of the miners, relating this horrifying ordeal, spoke of his fear and despair of ever being rescued. He recounted times of hope as the sound of the drill grew louder and moments of desperation during the long hours of silence that suggested the rescue had been abandoned. Despair was absolute when this young husband and father wrote a good-bye note to his wife whom he never expected to see again.

As I read the Psalms, the prayer book of the Bible, I realize that our desperate need for God is to be the atmosphere of prayer. We must realize God alone can deliver us by his miraculous power, just as he by grace brought us up from the grave of our lostness apart from Christ. Sometimes God seems to be terrifyingly silent. But as we learn to wait upon him, somehow he is at work to grow faith and hope in our hearts. When we finally surrender to him, realizing his will is the only possible way out for us, then the Deliverer has us exactly where he wants us. Now he can do his miracle.

These courageous miners decided to tether themselves together so that if the raging waters swept them off the shelf, they would either swim or sink together, and in the worst case, everybody would be found, dead or alive. What a parable of the praying church! We’re in this together, sink or swim. We need each other. Prayer, though at times deeply personal, is also a covenant pact.

These are times that call for urgent, heartfelt and, yes, even desperate praying. Let us be tethered together, Christians, as we cry out, wait on and fully surrender to the God who can move mountains for miners and other sinners like us.
Roberts is pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church, Wichita, Kan.

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  • Roger Roberts