A COAL MINE near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., was suddenly flooded by millions of gallons of water. Nine miners were trapped in an air pocket 240 feet [73 m] underground. Three days later, they were back on the surface, safe and sound. How were they rescued?
Aided by maps of the mine and by the Global Positioning System, rescuers drilled a 30-inch [65 cm]-wide hole and lowered a capsulelike cage down to where the men were huddled. One by one, the miners were brought to the surface in that cage, out of their would-be tomb. All were happy, relieved, and grateful for their rescue.
Most of us will never be trapped underground like those nine coal miners or have to face death in a catastrophe. Still, we all need to be rescued, for we cannot escape the ravages of sickness and old age and finally death. “Man, born of woman, is short-lived and glutted with agitation,” observed the faithful patriarch Job. “Like a blossom he has come forth and is cut off, and he runs away like the shadow and does not keep existing.” (Job 14:1, 2) Today, some 3,500 years later, those words continue to prove true, for who of us can escape life’s fatal outcome—death? Regardless of where we live or how well we guard our health, we need to be rescued from the clutches of suffering, old age, and death.
Scientists and others work hard trying to extend life beyond what people now view as a normal life span. One organization states that its mission is “to conquer the blight of involuntary death” and “to help its members succeed in working towards the possibility of human physical immortality.” Thus far, however, the combination of advanced science and sheer willpower has not extended human life much beyond the 70 or 80 years that Moses mentioned 3,500 years ago.—Psalm 90:10.
Whether you share Job’s feelings about life and death or not, it is inevitable that as the years move along, you too will ‘run away like the shadow,’ far away from your friends, your family, your home, and all that you have accomplished—off into death. “The living are conscious that they will die,” wrote wise King Solomon of ancient Israel. “As for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they anymore have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten.”—Ecclesiastes 9:5.
The sad reality, as the Bible points out, is that death has “ruled as king,” as a tyrannical ruler, over mankind. Yes, death is the ultimate enemy from which the human race needs a rescue. (Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 15:26) The best-trained and best-equipped emergency workers in the world cannot furnish you a permanent escape. Yet, man’s Creator, Jehovah God, has organized just such a rescue.