It's been over two weeks since the coal mining accident at Crandall Canyon in Utah which trapped six men underground. So far, the rescue effort has taken three lives and injured six others. The mine owners have reluctantly spoken about giving up the rescue effort because conditions are so dangerous and hope is fading. The families have responded with criticism, anger, and dismay. It is an awful situation for everyone involved.
Short of finding the missing men alive and well – and that still is possible – little can be done to make this situation less awful. But one way to comfort those involved and encourage healing is prayer for God's guidance for the mine owners as well as the miners and their families and friends. Our prayers can also enfold those involved in the accidents in Indiana and in China which occurred within roughly the same period.
For these individuals and their families, the way ahead looks bleak, but praying to understand the Bible's message that God is Love will do more to strengthen everyone concerned than many realize. Mary Baker Eddy brought out this point very clearly when she wrote in a spiritual interpretation of Psalm 23: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for [Love] is with me; [Love's] rod and [Love's] staff they comfort me" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 578).
This comforting presence of divine Love is available to all who are walking through that valley or who are praying for loved ones in trouble. They can all be united through the Christ, the message of God's love for humanity. Jesus lived this all-embracing love, and he taught its ability to transform and preserve lives.
The purpose of Christ's love is to heal, to open hearts and comfort them. Such love can eliminate confusion and doubt, and lead to inspired and intelligent action. It can also lift feelings of self-condemnation, or anger toward the mine's management and others associated with the conduct of rescue efforts.
And then there are the miners. At the time of this writing, no one knows if they are alive. It's not even certain that they are where the bore holes carrying fresh air and cameras are located. But one thing is sure: Wherever they are, they are in God's care.
The Apostle Paul, who had many death-defying experiences, once wrote in a letter to the Christian Church at Rome: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?... Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, ... nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:35, 37-39).
These are not just pleasant words. They are statements of spiritual fact that were established as true by the way he proved the presence of God in his life. They are guarantees that no matter where any of us may end up, divine Love's rod and staff will be there to comfort us. Each individual affected by this catastrophe may feel the touch of God's love very differently from the others. But the source for all is the Christ, which heals, saves, comforts, and guides.
To the degree that we can keep Christ at the helm of our thoughts and prayers about this situation, we will be able to make a solid contribution. The influence of Christ will bring its healing balm to every side and bring them together for the higher good of all. Truly, nothing can separate any of these individuals – no matter where they are or who they are – from the all-embracing love of Christ. This is where their true safety and peace lie.