Stay in the Race
July 30, 2002 • By Ed Wrather
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy 4:7.
The Quecreek Mine Rescue occurred when nine miners were trapped underground for more than 78 hours, from July 24–28, 2002. In order to bring about the rescue of the nine miners from the Quecreek Mine in western Pennsylvania it was necessary to assemble a large amount of equipment and manpower in a short period of time. It was a desperate operation in a race against time, which involved more than 150 workers and many tons of heavy equipment.
The rescue involved making calculated risks of where and when to drill. Decisions had to be made about pumping out water and pumping in air. There was also a terrible setback with a drill bit broke resulting in a delay of 18 hours. Those hours seemed like an eternity to the rescuers and to the trapped miners who could no longer hear the noise of the drilling. Questions passed through their minds as to whether the miners would still be alive after such a long delay, could they still reach them in time?
We know now that the miners were reached in time and that the decisions made under difficult conditions were the right ones. With the rescue effort, we see a parable of the Christian life. We walk by faith and not by sight. We see through a “glass darkly” while we are living here on Planet Earth. We have to make decisions many times without seeing everything in black and white and only believing that we are doing what the Lord would have us to do. Our lives, the apostle Paul says, are like being in a fight and a race at the same time. The rescuers of the miners were in a race against time and in a fight against the difficult conditions and uncertainties to bring about the rescue.
During our race, we too will sometimes experience setbacks, or what we think are setbacks. The rescuers broke a drill bit, and it set them back for 18 very long hours. What a terrible thing we all thought! But now we know it was really not such a terrible thing. Instead, it was a lifesaving miracle that prevented the deaths of the miners. According to the miners if the drill had punched through the ceiling of the mine sooner than it did then the delicate air bubble that was keeping them alive would have been ruptured. If the air bubble had been ruptured it would have allowed the water to rush in but with the additional time pumps were able to reduce the water level so that the miner’s chamber was not flooded.
How many times even now can we look back and see that what seemed to be some horrible thing at the time was actually a good thing? And some day when we have fought the good fight and finished the race, we will look back over our lives. As we look at many of the difficulties that we encountered in our lives most likely we will see that many were for our benefit (Romans 8:28).
So, the next time your drill bit breaks, and you are delayed or have to change course remember it may not be such a bad thing. Stay in the race, keep the faith and keep on fighting!