.....from Frederica Mathewes-Green, on Beliefnet:
The members of Sago Baptist Church, like Bible-steeped people everywhere, can draw on powerful resources to make it through the long nights ahead. The image of thirteen men trapped in poisonous darkness is matched by the image of three young men in a fiery furnace; in the midst of death they were not alone, and the king who condemned them said, "I see four men...and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods" (Daniel 3:25). A century ago, when Sir Ernest Shackleton led two other men through a blizzard across the uncharted mountains of South Georgia Island, he too said that "it often seemed to me that we were four, not three" (a perception that his companions later confirmed). In fire, in ice, and in the depths of the earth, those who face down death may be comforted and companioned in ways we cannot know.
John Casto tried to explain, in an accent broad as the hills, how this works, how faith can make it so you're not alone. "You know, I'm not kin to none of these people under that hill over there, but each and every one of 'ems a brother to me. Each and every one of them." He then looked toward the reporter and said, "Because you're my brother," and then turning to the cameraman, "and you're my brother. The way I look at it."
There was something electrifying about that moment. In the midst of bitterness and turmoil, Casto broke through the wall. "Because I love Christ," he went on. This is not the sort of thing you usually hear on the news, and the camera was already pulling back. The reporter's voice softly murmured "All right, John." But Casto continued, "We're gonna to pray for each and every one of these people." At this point, the reporter patted him on the shoulder, with a "that's enough, now" gesture. "We're gonna pray that this community will leave today in peace and always be in peace, in the town of Sago," Casto said.
At that point, the film ends. But John Casto got to say his piece. Hope based on a particular outcome is a fragile thing; it can be smashed by events. Hope based in a particular Person can endure. Whether a miracle occurs or doesn't, we are never alone. "Thou who hast made me see many sore troubles wilt revive me again; from the depths of the earth Thou wilt bring me up again" (Psalm 71:20). (My emphasis added)