Monday, October 18, 2010

Why 33 Chilean miners are alive today while eight Hong Kong tourists remain dead

The successful rescue of the 33 miners after being trapped for 69 days in a Chile mine was indeed a moving and inspiring story. But I'd stop short of going as far as gushing about how "God's graces" were at play in this brilliant display of human achievement at one of its best. Whenever I see a grandstanding of "evidence" of "divine intervention" coming from an after-the-fact reflection upon a story with a happy ending I too reflect. And this reflection on my part is around this simple question.

How does "God" decide which people are to be showered with his "graces" and which people are to be left to perish in the hands of the "evils" of nature and men?

If we are to believe Cathy Babao-Guballa in her Inquirer.net article 'There is no hole too deep, where God is not deeper still', God was "with" those 33 miners as they endured their 69-day ordeal...
The miners were rescued a day before the feast of Sta. Teresa de Avila, which I found significant. As a young girl, growing up with a lot of angst, I often sought refuge in her words to carry me through difficult days: "Let nothing disturb you; Let nothing dismay you; All thing pass; God never changes; Patience attains all that it strives for. He who has God finds he lacks nothing: God alone suffices."

In the end, faith and patience are our strongest allies.

One of my favorite authors, Corrie Ten Boom, a Jewish concentration camp survivor, once said, "There is no hole too deep, where God is not deeper still."

The Chilean miracle rescue only served to reinforce my belief that in the difficulties we encounter, there is never any hole too dark or too difficult because God is bigger than any challenge we face.

I wonder in regarding the above, how a mother who lost her husband and two teenaged daughters and is left with a severely-injured son figures in God's "plan". This mother was one of the "survivors" of the 23rd August hostage drama in Manila that left eight people dead as a result of the ineptly-executed rescue effort of Philippine authorities.

Why does God choose to be "with" 33 miners and not "with" innocent tourists subject to the whims of a crazed gunman? For that matter, why does God choose to shower the minority affluent world with his tangible "graces" while the majority are left with a mere encouragement to squeeze (applying their best imaginative interpretation skills on his "Word") some religious "meaning" from the immense physical suffering they live with everyday as a result of their extreme poverty?

For me there is a far FAR simpler and logically sound reason why 33 Chilean miners are alive today and eight Hong Kong tourists died in the hands of Rolando Mendoza last month.

It is not because one happened to have the "significant" fortune of transpiring a day before the feast day of some obscure saint while the other did not.

And it is not because one enjoyed the "presence" of a God who is deeper than the the hole they were in while the other was left with a God who was too busy on that day listening to the prayers of the prayerful.

Quite simply:

It is because the people who were involved in the Chile mine rescue did something correctly and those involved in the Manila hostage incident did something incorrectly.

Perhaps only those who truly understand what it means to be spiritual (in contrast to those who are merely religious) are the ones who harbour enough insight in their minds to know enough not to put their God on the spot by invoking his name when "reflecting" out loud on why some stories end happily.

4 comments:

  1. Come to think of it, you can simplify the reason as such: The guys who saved 33 Chilean miners used their God-given brains to full effect. That's why they praised God... because their rescuers used their heads, not unlike our "Dear Leaders" (I paean [praise, but sounds like pee on] them, if you know what I mean.) who have heads up asses.

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  2. Indeed. Thinking is a concept that is utterly alien to the Pinoy mind!

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  3. Pardon my cynicism (actually, I don't really mean that), but what position does an overwrought newspaper columnist on the other side of the world have to draw a divine conclusion from the events in Chile? I wasn't there, either, so I don't know the whole story -- but it seemed to me, from what I saw on the news, that a whole bunch of people applying every resource at their disposal and working furiously without pause for weeks had a lot to do with it eventually working out okay.

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  4. Erratum: It was supposed to be "...used their heads, not like our "Dear Leaders..."

    Mea culpa.

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