Finally rescuers reached a point where all drilling had to stop; the deeper they dug the more lives they endangered. One supervisor stated, “We conceded defeat to a mountain that appeared to be slowly crumbling.” Yet even as word came from authorities calling all drilling to cease, one crew of rescuers refused to quit. When reporters went to interview the organizer of the crew which defied the order to stand down he made the following statement: “Without question, we have suffered a setback, and we have incurred an incredible loss. But this team remains focused on the task at hand – the rescue of the miners.”
The sad part of this story is that several hours later this crew also had to suspend their rescue attempt because the tunnel they were drilling began to collapse as well. The men trapped in that mine ten days earlier would never again see the light of day. The mountain became their tomb as all entrances into it were filled and never to be used again.
These men were driven from within to press on in spite of the overwhelming odds against them. Maybe it was their love or devotion for their brethren, or the idea that it could have been one of them, they simply believed they could succeed where all others failed. Yet when all was said and done they had to surrender acknowledging their efforts and personal sacrifice would not be enough.
There are so many stories throughout Scripture that should encourage us to be like the last rescue crew, maintaining our focus and never willing to give up no matter the circumstances. But our ability to rise above the greatest challenges in life cannot be done in our own power; we need the help of someone bigger than ourselves. I love the words of Christ Jesus in Luke 18:1 when He says, “And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” In other words, Christ was conveying to His disciples the key to not quitting is through prayer, and that prayer is to be directed toward the One Who has the power to overcome.
As Christians we should never give up knowing we can rely upon God in the midst of our troubles as He teaches us to be resilient. Let’s remember, resiliency is the ability to adjust and overcome the trials and stressors of life. The apostle Paul understood this all too well. He had experienced many difficulties after surrendering his life to Christ, and was constantly being challenged on all sides from the Roman government, superficial Christians, and his Jewish brethren.
In introduction of Second Corinthians chapter 1, Paul shares from his personal experience how he was able to persevere and hoping to encourage those in Corinth to do the same. Note what he says in the following verses:
2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (ESV) For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.
I love what the apostle does here by sharing this statement. He doesn’t make light of his feelings of helplessness and despair. I believe he does so in order to powerfully demonstrate his fragileness as a human being. Personally, I can identify with his feelings of anguish and bleak outlook. There have certainly been times in my life when I was ready to throw my hands up and quit, knowing I had no ability within myself to change my circumstances. Many of you who read this I’m sure have had similar feelings.
Paul reveals the true source of his ability to continue in the direst circumstances, which is his dependence on the power of God. He firmly believes the power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power that had delivered him before and would deliver him again. In Christ his hope rest, meaning he is confidently assured God will meet his needs, and theirs as He has proven time and again.
Remember Christ taught us that one of the keys to not giving up is prayer, and without a doubt the apostle Paul believe this also. Note his next statement to the church at Corinth.
2 Corinthians 1:11 (NLT) And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.
If you’re struggling today or hurting because life has taken an unexpected turn throwing you for a loop, let me encourage you to trust in the One Who is faithful and has the power to deliver. Seek out other Christians and share with them as Paul shared with the church at Corinth, and ask them to not only pray with you but for you. Please feel free to send me your prayer request in order that I might pray for you also.
May God’s peace be with you,