Rescued from the Pit
The extraordinary rescue of the Moo Pa (Wild Boars) football team from the flooded Tham Luang cave near Chiang Rai, has reminded me of the amazing news of the gospel.
In the Words of Psalm 40:
- I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
Ignoring the warning signs
The boys had entered the cave after Saturday morning football practice. It was a birthday celebration. The boys, aged 11 to 16, rode their bikes down to the cave and spent 700 baht ($28) at the local shop, buying food, soft drink and sweets.
They left their bikes at the entrance and descended deep into the cave. They ignored the sign nearby warning that venturing inside during the wet season was dangerous because of the risk of sudden flooding. We are not yet fully aware off all the details of how the boys ventured so deep into the cave and how they became trapped. But later that day, worried parents alerted the authorities that the boys were missing.
The Bible describes mankind in their rebellion against God, constantly ignoring his warning signs as sheep going astray:
´We all like sheep have gone astray. We have left God´s paths to follow our own. . . ’ (Isaiah 53:6a NLT )
This leaves us in a pit needing a rescue.
The rescue plan
A huge rescue operation was set up to try to find the boys. But it took nine days before their families and the rest of the country even knew they were alive.
Hundreds of volunteers and officials had set up camp outside the cave but one of the most useful offers of help came from a small team of British cave divers.
At 9.40pm on Monday, July 2, two Britons with years of cave-diving experience emerged out of the darkness and shone a light on coach Ekapol and the boys, all thin but calm and intact.
Later on Thai Navy Seal diver Saman Kunont, lost his life as part of the rescue plan.
God´s rescue plan to lift people from the pit, is incomparably costly. He sent his own Son, Jesus, to die to effect the rescue. Jesus died because he gave his life as a substitute for us, absorbing our sin in his body on the cross.
Only one way out
There is only one way out of the pit for humanity and that is to trust Jesus and to follow him. There are many religions but only one who is capable of saving us. It is only the cross that provides humanity with a way out of the pit. This seems an extremely exclusive and narrow message but this message comes straight from Jesus himself who said:
´I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.´
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly told his listeners that there are two paths, two gates, two types of builders, two trees with two different types of fruit. But there is only one way of salvation.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.¨ (Matthew 7:13-14)
The boys had to completely trust their rescuers as they swam, in the three day window provided as they negotiated flood water that was likened to swimming through coffee. Each boy followed his rescuer through extremely narrow passages to the mouth of the cave. In like manner, the bible instructs us to follow Jesus who will lead us out of darkness and out of the pit.
The rescue was miraculous and rightly led to huge celebrations all over Thailand. The compassion of the Thai people was also shown through these events. Yet many of the boys saved were from minority tribal groups who are not Thai citizens and there have been calls to enable them and their coach to receive full Thai citizenship.
When a person repents and follows Jesus, Jesus himself said that there is great joy in heaven. That celebration will be consummated in heaven with a banquet and a wedding feast. When a person follows Jesus, they become a citizen of heaven, adopted into His family and given full status as children of God.