Just a month ago, as I post this, 33 Chilean miners were miraculously freed from their underground grave of 69 days. The whole world watched the miracle unfold. The survivors have already gone on to global fame, including one who completed the New York Marathon.
But experienced psychologists warn that these men will in all likelihood have a long road of recovery from the physical and psychological impacts of facing death for such a long period of time, post-traumatic stress. He said that they will have deeply experienced at least two significant emotions:
1. Helplessness– having no power to change something that is beyond their control, resulting in fear.
2. Hopelessness– having the conviction that no one else has a solution either, resulting in depression.
It’s why rescue workers fought immediately to provide reasons for hope to the trapped miners.
Do you know any men who struggle with helplessness or hopelessness right now? I sure do. As the recovery of our economic “mine collapse” inches along, many predict that the worst may still lie ahead of us. Nearly 100,000 U.S. workers lost their jobs last month; some observers fear a second hit in the housing market that will threaten many more homeowners with foreclosure. If indeed that happens, the aftershocks will circle the globe again.
We live in a time when many men and women are in MID-traumatic stress, if there is such a phrase. They have not passed through to the other side of stress. The stress factors are not safely in the rearview mirror of life, they are still hitting the windshield. In some cases shattering it.
We need outside Help because it IS true: we have no power to control many events in our lives. Psalm 41:1-3 reminds us: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
We need outside Hope so we don’t fall into the darkness of depression. I have come to love Romans 15:13 for its message of hope: “May the God of hope fill you with all peace and joy as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Surely two Bible verses don’t relieve all our fears. But the profound truth behind these words assures us of God’s presence and his power. We may not be delivered as quickly or smoothly as the miners we’ve watched in the rescue capsule. But some day, some day, we will dance with joy that dwarfs the celebrations we saw in Chile.
My greatest joy in life is my family. I know, that sounds like the comment you’re supposed to make as a man and father. All I can say is I literally shake my head in wonder at the family I have: my wife Beryl; my daughter Barclay and son-in-law Vince, their four daughters, Bella, Brynn, Brooke and Blake; my son Alec, my son Conor and daughter-in-law Bonnie, their daughter Gemma and son Calvin. Every one of them is a genuine gift. Beyond that, I have a calling that I live out through Peregrine Ministries. It is to help men: Understand their identity in Christ, Embrace their role as men, and Live out their God-given calling in life. Bottom line is I’m convinced men matter and I want to help them live life on purpose.