Devotional - 2002-08-06 - Slate-Miners of Rocroy
Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
You may have heard of the accident at the mine in Pennsylvania a few days ago where nine miners were trapped under ground for three days before being rescued. There is a story of some slate miners from over 100 years ago that I would like to relate to you today because it shows the faith of a young man involved in the accident. I think we can learn from Christian biography and it is my hope that this story is an encouragement to you. It is found in a book published in 1870, so you are not likely to find this story anywhere else.
A father, named Loenard, and his son, James, who was 13 years old, were working in a certain part of a slate mine in Rocroy, France. The boy was working above his father who was using a pickax to loosen the slate. The boy noticed a fissure that was widening above his fathers head and threatened to fall on him. He tried to warn his father, but his father was not able to hear him because of the noise of the work. The boy climbed down to his father and showed him the problem. Leonard quickly jumped back but James was not fast enough and the mass gave way.
The father frantically looked for his son, but with all the dust from the falling rock he could not find him. The boy was buried below the mass of rock. The other miners began to clear things away, and as they did they moved one section that was not stable. There was another collapse which fell upon the father, killing him instantly. But the miners continued to hold out hope for James who had fallen into a shaft and was alive, but completely buried. In addition, water was now rising around him and filling the shaft. He thought at first that he was alone, but then reminded himself what his mom had told him, "I am not alone, Mother has told me, and I have often read, that we are never alone. God is with me even here, and He will take care of me."
James knelt down in his little prison and prayed to God to care for him and restore him again to his parents. The water continued to rise. First to his waist, then to his shoulders. All the while the boy prayed, "My God, Thy will be done!" When the other miners reached him the water had reached over his head so he was treading in very cold water. He would have soon died from hypothermia had the miners not reached him when they did. It was still unclear if he would survive. They brought the boy to his mom and put his cold, seemingly lifeless body in a bed. She is reported to have prayed the same prayer as her son. She held his hand and said, "My God, Thy will be done!" The boy did recover and went back to working in the mine.
What I find interesting is the prayer, "Thy will be done." I think it shows depth of spiritual character and Christian maturity. I frankly don't think that is what I would have been praying. I think I would have been praying, "Lord, get me out of here." "Lord, heal my son." But I don't think I would have thought to pray, "Thy will be done." Rather, my mindset is more likely to have been, "My will be done." It has been instructive to me to see the resolved faith of this boy and his mother and I encourage both myself and you to remember to seek God's will over our own in all things.
Soli Deo Gloria,