Torchbearers for Christ
Thursday, July 18, 2024
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      When it was first known that 33 men were entombed 620 metres down a copper mine in Chile recently, there was worldwide concern. It is hard for us to enter into the anxiety that must have been experienced by the miners, their families and friends, particularly when we remember that it was 17 days before contact was made with the miners and it was confirmed that all had survived the mine collapse. They were supplied with food and other necessities and after 69 days of being confined in a small space in the mine, they were all brought safely to the surface. What joyful family reunions took place and what celebrations there were! During the time of waiting, the President of Chile made the comment, “We are all in God’s hands”.
        The experience of these miners, and their being finally brought to safety, reminds us of the experience of a man in the Bible who tells how the Lord heard his desperate cry when he was in deep trouble and “lifted me out of a horrible pit, out of the mud and mire and set my feet upon a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:1-2 NIV). It was King David who wrote this psalm and he added that God “has put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God”. He then gives us all some good advice saying, “Blessed is the man that makes the Lord his trust” (Psalm 40:4).
         Now, King David did not have the experience of being buried in a mine. We are not told exactly the problem he was referring to when he wrote this psalm, but he had doubtless passed through some crushing experience which led him to cry out to the Lord. The answer to his prayer did not come immediately for he tells us that “I waited patiently for the Lord and he turned to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1). Troubles come to us all; they are a part of life. In 1 Peter 5:7 we are told to “cast all your anxiety upon Him for He cares for you”. Psalm 46:1 reminds us that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. It is easy for us to trust God when life is going along smoothly, but we are told to “trust in Him at all times you people, pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8).
          In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians chapter 2, we read of people who were decidedly in a “horrible pit” spiritually. They are described as being “dead in trespasses and sins, children of wrath (vss. 1,3). They are “without Christ, having no hope and without God” (vs. 12). They live to please themselves, they follow the ways of the world, they are taken captive by the devil at his will. They “gratify the cravings of our sinful nature, following its desires and thoughts” (vs.3 NIV). Who are these people? They are sinners, as we all are, before being converted.
         But the good news is found in Ephesians 2:4-9. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ (by grace you are saved), and has raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly placed in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God”.
How thankful we should be that we, who were in a “horrible pit” of guilt, shame, and without hope, have been brought from death to life and raised to be seated in “heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. Like the men in the Chilean mine, who could never have been saved without help from above, neither could we have been brought from darkness to light had not Jesus come to our rescue. Well may we sing joyfully:
   “I’ve been lifted, thanks to Jesus,
I’ve been lifted out of shame.
     By His wondrous love and mercy,
      I’ve been lifted, Praise His Name!
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  For many years, he has travelled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.