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January 2, 2024 | Daily Devotionals | January 2

Out of the Pit

I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Psalm 142:5

Immediately after the August 2010 cave-in at the San José mine in the Atacama Desert of Chilé, fellow mine workers jumped into action. Attempts to reach the 33 men trapped below via alternate routes failed, and ventilation shafts were missing escape ladders that should have been in place.

Meanwhile, nearly half a mile underground, “Los 33” workers were facing 95 degree heat, stifling humidity, food meant to last two days, and water accessible from just a single spring and from old radiators. The men got themselves organized, with their crew boss, Luis Urzuza, taking the lead. They implemented a democratic, majority-vote process for major decisions. They ate once a day—two cookies and a spoonful of tuna fish—and organized themselves into work shifts. One miner served as medic while other men led daily prayer sessions.
For 17 days the men had no contact with the outside world, huddled in a 530-square-foot shelter. Alone in the dark, they chose solidarity over despair. It’s hard to imagine the relief they experienced when they heard the first faint sounds of drilling, and then the moment when the drill bit broke through the roof of the shaft near where they were sheltering.

We will all experience moments of pitch black darkness in life. Do we risk bruised egos and reach out to someone, or do we just sit in the dark? I imagine King David writing Psalm 40 after he and his men hid from Saul in the cave of Adullam. Penned in, outnumbered, sitting in the damp, David cried out to God, who delivered him to safety. David rejoiced and said, “He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock” (Psalm 40:2, nkjv).

“Los 33” survived the pit because they stuck together, rationed food, shared each other’s burdens, and prayed together. We don’t need to remain in the darkness of guilt and shame—no matter what we’ve done, we have brothers ready to help. But if we are sitting in the dark, others can’t help unless we let them know we are out there, in need of a helping hand or reassuring word.

Father, help me out of the pit so I might help others do the same.

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