The whole world’s been watching as the rescue efforts unfolded for the 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped 18 days in a cave in Thailand. The last ones were rescued on Tuesday as the world let out a collective sigh of relief.
A few hours later the main water pump failed. According to news reports, there were still 100 workers in the cave removing equipment. They safely exited as quickly as possible.
Some people present at the scene are calling the rescue a miracle. To all of us worldwide who watched and prayed, we’re thankful God still hears prayers and still performs miracles today.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).
My friend, Judy, felt a particular burden to pray for the boys and their coach. It was more than a casual urge to pray. It was personal. I believe that the Lord called her to stand in the gap for those boys and their coach. She joined with the Holy Spirit in lifting them and their situation up to the Lord. By doing so, she entered into a holy partnership.
If you’ve never felt this burden to pray, it’s hard to describe. It’s a unique calling. I’ve had this burden a few times in my life. It’s a very humbling and awe-inspiring experience.
One day I felt an overwhelming urge to pray for my brother who was in Iraq. Every day the urge became more intense until one day I woke up and the need to pray was gone. I later discovered that on the last day I was praying, a rocket exploded next to my brother’s room while he was inside. Thankfully, he was able to walk out of that room.
Over the years, I’ve prayed for my friend Pastor Tom during his trips to Asia. Often I’ve felt a particular burden to pray for him, later learning that it was during those times that difficulties arose. Only by the grace of God was he able to walk away from different situations alive and unharmed.
Another time I knew the Lord was calling me to pray for someone for a short period of time. Someone deep in the pit of alcoholism. I could physically feel his struggle. The war was literally between good and evil. Quite simply, the Lord wanted that man to come to a saving faith in him. It made me realize in a very real way that God does not want one of us to perish. He “… wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
I was asked to stand in the gap and pray for him. There was a change in the man. I have no idea what eventually happened to him, but for a moment he saw the truth and the truth set him free.
Not everything always turns out the way we want. The retired Navy Seal who so bravely was helping to rescue the boys and their coach lost his life. He will be remembered as a man who stepped up without regard for his own safety to help others. He’s a big part of the rescue. Each person who stepped up to help did so with the knowledge that they were risking their own lives.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:3).
Jesus went into a different cave for each of us. It was called a tomb. He personally died on the cross for our sins. “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5).
The Good News is that after three days, Jesus rose from the dead. He conquered death. He’s with the Father in Heaven preparing a place for every true believer. Not those who simply know he exists, but those of us who have surrendered our lives to him.
Do you feel trapped in a cave with the water rising? Are you believing there’s no hope? Do you think you’re going under for the last time? Call out to Jesus. He’ll rescue you. All you have to do is ask.
Then, admit that you need the Savior. Ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life. Confess your sins and ask for a new heart and a new life. Preferably one lived with your heard above water.
And then rejoice and be thankful. Celebrate just like the world is celebrating the safe rescue of those 12 boys and their coach.