Devil's Dirt and Hellish Pay


One of the belts carrying coal from the mines

1925 was not a good year for the coal miners in East Coulee, Alberta. The shoddy work and living conditions led to constant complaints. The "devil's dust", referring to the coal dust they were forced to breathe for 8 hours straight every day, was deadly to the miners' lungs. They were tired of the constant lay-offs, the long hours with little pay, and the dangerous working conditions. Workers decided to "walk out".

Needless to say, their employers were not overly excited by this plan. They needed to get the coal out of the earth, so they hired what was called "special constables" to get the men back underground. These "special constables" were paid ten dollars a day and all the booze they could drink. They then set out, using crow bars, iron knuckles and pickax handles as motivators, and the main "walk out" agitators were tarred and feathered and carried outside town on wooden poles.

Eventually unions were formed and deals were reached so that the coal miners would be treated with more respect.

The coal industry boomed during World War II, and miners who tried to enlist were often refused. Coal was needed during the war, and the country couldn't afford to have all of the miners off fighting in Europe! But after WWII, natural gas was discovered, and the coal industry quickly declined. Mines closed all across the country, and even the unions couldn't help the plight of the coal miner.

One may be shocked by the methods used to motivate the miners back to work when they walked out on their jobs; however there is a much worse "special constable" at work on this planet, one that we largely ignore. Billions of people are ensnared by the lures he sets out to enslave them for life. He uses addictions, pursuit of fame and wealth, and anything else that could take away their thoughts from the One who could help them enjoy "real life". "The thief (the devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10 NIV)

Unlike the miners' unions, who were able to make a difference in the lives of the men but in the end were unable to save their jobs, there is One who is able to set you completely free from the clutches of the devil: "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36 NIV)

Freedom never comes without a price, and the One who cares for you paid it in full: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)

Would you like to experience complete freedom from addictions? Are you hungering to enjoy life to the fullest? Then come to Jesus and accept the real freedom He is offering you. Only then will you come really alive. "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." (John 7:37-38 NIV)

The evil one will not be able to continue to bully you any longer, as long as you follow the true freedom provided through Jesus. Even "special constables" are no match to our forever friend named Jesus. Freedom can be yours. The decision is yours.

Rob Chaffart

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