The Rescuer’s Heart
by Luis Velez, P.A.V.E. Coordinator
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believed in him, would not perish, but have life everlasting. – John 3:16
In August 2010, as 33 miners were trapped 2,400 feet (1/2 mile) beneath the ground in a mine near Copiapo, Chile government officials decided to initiate the first phase of what would become a two day rescue mission. The rescue operation had consisted of drilling an escape shaft that would be wide enough to fit a rescue capsule that could serve as an elevator that would bring each miner up to the surface one at a time. After the successful drilling of a stable shaft was confirmed, the rescue capsule which could only fit one person because it was solely 21 inches in diameter was awaiting the first of eventually six rescue workers.
Manuel Gonzalez entered the capsule and was the first rescuer who would give up his own comfort, safety and possibly risk his own life by entering the capsule that would descend underground about 30 minutes to where the miners were located. After being trapped for 68 days, the 33 miners (“Los 33”) would gain their first sight of freedom with the landing of the capsule and the emergence of rescuer Manuel Gonzalez. Upon arrival Gonzalez then enters into what was the 33 miner’s reality for 68 days, and as one miner at a time ascended to the surface by this capsule the others waited patiently for their turn, all the while rescuer Gonzalez waited with them. It took 24 hours for the last miner to come up to the surface. Manuel Gonzalez would be the first rescuer to enter the mine and would be the very last person to ascend to the surface. He had spent 25 hours in the mine.
The heart of this rescue worker reminds me of the verse found in 1st John 3:16:
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
We are left to ask ourselves:
Would we allow ourselves to set aside our own comforts and safety for the concerns and well-being of others? Would we lay down our lives for the sake of others and be willing to go into their dark places with them and see them through, until they come to the surface better people?
Let us remember that the heart of the rescuer of our soul is in us to engage such rescue missions.