Last weekend I began watching the film Thirteen Lives which chronicled the rescue of twelve Thai soccer players and their coach who were trapped in the Tham Luang cave when monsoon-like rains began, and the cave flooded. Because a portion of the film is in Thai, and I had to read the closed captions, it took me several days to watch the entire film.
I want to talk about the film in three segments. The first one involved the parents of the children, who began searching for them when they failed to arrive at one player’s birthday party. When the parents found their bikes at the cave entrance, they knew what had occurred. That was June 23, 2018.
The second part of the film unfolded as NAVY SEALS, professional cave divers and numerous volunteers arrived to help drain the water, lay rope guidelines for the divers, and discuss whether they would find the boys alive or not. The boys and their coach were located by professional deep cave divers on July 2, and it took several days more before a rescue operation began.
The third segment was the rescue operation, which began on July 8th and ended on the 10th. I remember the story well because all of the boys and their coach survived. I was thrilled when the coach, who was guided out last, made it to the surface, followed by all the divers who were couriers of this human caravan. There’s a moment when everyone pauses as they realize what happened.
I know that this wasn’t the intent of the director, but I couldn’t help but notice how nervous I was as the divers went back and forth through the path to the boys. I was anxious as each boy was given ketamine in preparation for the journey out. I breathed a sigh of relief as each child reached a waiting medical team at the cave’s entrance and was quickly transported to a nearby hospital.
Isn’t our faith like that? We believe that what God has planned for our lives and for all of creation will be accomplished. And yet, we often question and doubt whether God is with us. Some have tried to predict the date of our Savior’s return, while others have suggested that God doesn’t even exist. Time and again people ask for tangible evidence of our Savior’s presence, the 10 plagues or Noah’s Ark. We seek to place the Lord and all that He does for us in a box of our understanding, rather than acknowledge that constantly we are being shaped and molded for the needs in our world.
Jesus said it to the disciples and us in Matthew 13: 31-32. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
Our Holy Bible assures us that not only does God exist, but one day our Savior will return to fulfill all that God has promised us. Help us to believe. Help our faith grow like a mustard seed so that it flourishes in us and through us. Jesus said: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (John 20:29). May it be so. And Amen.