Over the next few days, that close-knit community in Charleston, WV will have to agonize through twenty-nine funerals. These men were somebody's father, husband, brother, uncle, fiance, friend. Many of them were men of faith. Their families stood vigil and cried out to God on their behalf - praying for a miracle. Last night they were presented with an uncomfortable reality for those who put their infinite trust in an all-powerful God: Sometimes, the answer is "No".
"...Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" ~ Matt 6:10
I know from experience that hearing a "No" from God when you are earnestly seeking Him to intervene with a miracle is a bitter pill to swallow. It can shake your faith to the core. But through the tears, the faithful can come to accept the perfect will of the Lord, while learning a whole new level of trust.
Over the next few days, the families of these miners will have to lay their loved one to rest. Not long after that, the dirty politics will begin. Well, it may not even take that long. In fact, both sides have already begun to take up arms. Democrats accuse the leadership of Massey Energy of being anti-union and having a pattern of violations at the mine. Their CEO, Don Blakenship, is known as an influential and powerful donor to the Republican party. Meanwhile, Republicans accuse Democrats of using this incident to attack big business and label Republicans as heartless overseers. President Obama has already signaled that there will be a full federal investigation into what happened.
At the end of the day, both, all, or parts of each of these allegations may be true. But it really doesn't matter right now. Right now, I hope we can focus our attention on those that grieve in Charleston. There'll be time enough for finger-pointing, and activists on both sides will make sure everyone knows that the other party is wholly responsible. But as you go throughout your day, just pray for these families and this community.
And also pray that the political opportunists will have the decency to "stand down" until the last of these families at least gets home from the cemetary. Yes, I know. That would require another miracle.