The rescue of all rescues

Where were you when you heard the news?

"They're out!" flashed the notification on my phone on Tuesday lunchtime. When I saw it, I couldn’t help feel relieved.

Another team

Whilst much of the world's attention has been on the football in Russia, another team has caught the headlines.

When the Moo Pa junior football team went missing nearly three weeks ago, they barely made the local news. But when football boots were found at the mouth of a flooded cave, more people began to notice.

No normal rescue

The rescue effort has been something to see.

After seven days, there was still no sign of the boys. When the Thai Prime Minister urged rescuers not to give up hope, you might have thought it was wishful thinking. 

But the rescue went on.

After nine days, three divers found the boys and their coach alive over a mile into the cave. Stuck on a ledge surrounded by rising water, the group was hungry and couldn't remember how long they had been there.

And then the next challenge. How to get them out.

Some looked for hidden shafts. Others tried drilling. But as the forecast revealed that the flooding was to only get worse, the team focused on guiding the boys out the way they went in.

But if anyone needed any warning of how difficult that was going to be, the news broke. A former Thai navy diver tragically died in an overnight mission to place oxygen tanks along the route.

Our first reaction

The boys and their coach are now out. And as we look back on the astonishing rescue mission, it will be tempting to draw many parallels with the gospel.

That we were once stranded in the darkness of our sin (John 3:19-20). That we had to be rescued from death to life (John 3:16). That someone sacrificed their life in the process (John 3:17).

But before we turn this story into a gospel illustration, we should first marvel at the work of the hundreds involved in the rescue of these innocent boys.

And the God who has lovingly preserved their lives (Psalm 36:6).