A rescue of all time
Written by Reg Wright
The world watched with baited breath as the rescue mission to free 12 boys and their coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand escalated. The boys and their coach were exploring the caves when a sudden storm caused the passageways to flood, trapping them inside on a ledge surrounded by water. They spent nine days in the cave with little food or light huddled on this ledge before being discovered.
On our TVs the media has brought into our living rooms images of these boys and their coach, and the extraordinary efforts of the Thailand rescue team supported by international experts. A team of 90 Thai and international expert divers and experienced rescue personnel assembled to mount perhaps the most difficult rescue of all time. Some sections of the passage way leading to where the boys and their coach were trapped were more than ten metres high, while other sections are a very tight squeeze through water filled passages.
We can only imagine what it is like to be trapped in darkness in a deep underground cave and not knowing if we would be rescued. We applaud the courage of the boys and their coach, and that of the rescue workers. It is good news that the twelve boys and the coach have been rescued and the work was successful in bringing them out. Our prayers have been answered for their safe deliverance.
While watching this extraordinary rescue play out, I was reminded of another rescue mission. Since the time of Adam and Eve the human race has descended into a cave of darkness from which there is no escape, unless it is rescued. This cave of darkness in which the human race has descended is the result of disobedience to the instruction by our Creator to not enter this cave – the cave, in the analogy, representing a way of life based on human reasoning, rather than relying upon the instruction of our Creator on how we should live. But we thought we knew better than our parent and the temptation to explore the forbidden cave and our misdirected curiosity pulled us along a twisting and winding path and we have ended up on a ledge, in darkness and, by the rising waters of evil and sinfulness, we were cut off from the One who told us not to go there.
However, our Creator had anticipated that His children, human beings, may choose to enter this cave of darkness and planned one of the most profound rescue missions of all time. He was not caught off guard. He had the situation covered.
The One who would lead the rescue would be none other than the One who became our Saviour, Jesus Christ. This rescue mission is embodied in those well know words of John 3:16-17. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
The world, the human race, through Christ, might be saved – might be rescued from the darkness into which we have all descended, through our sinfulness and disobedience.
The apostle Paul reminded the brethren at Colossae, and us, that we have already experienced the joy of deliverance from this darkness. He wrote: "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:12-13).
And the apostle Peter wrote these most encourage words: "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy" (1 Peter 2:9-10).
When the first rescuers found the boys and their coach trapped deep in the cave in Thailand, what joy and relief must have swept over them. Hope must have risen in their hearts. They now had opportunity to be rescued from this darkness and come out into the marvellous light of safety and freedom.
This is indeed a type of the joy, freedom and peace which we have experienced as God rescued us out of the darkness of this world and brought us into the marvellous light of understanding and the comfort of a relationship with Him.
And, indeed, God will extend His rescue plan to each and every human being that has lived, is now living, and who will yet live. None will be left behind in the cave of spiritual darkness of this world.
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About the Author
Reg Wright is a retired United Church of God Elder and serves as the Personal Correspondent for the Church – answering questions from our readers and viewers on the Bible and Christian living.