Where do you see the Spirit of God at work in the world? Have you had any God-
sightings recently? Is it possible that, when we’re at our best, the human resembles the
While on holiday and study leave, I listened to the news sparingly. However, one story
utterly kidnapped my attention. At exactly the same time hundreds of thousands of
people from New York to Los Angeles to Appalachia showed up in white shirts in
“Families Belong Together” marches protesting the Trump Administration’s “zero
tolerance” policy, the world held its collective breath as a Thai soccer team of young
boys, aged 11-16, were trapped and then rescued from two weeks in a cave.
The soccer team had gone for a short exploration after soccer practice. They expected to
be gone for an hour, not 14 days. In the cave, they didn’t know the rains had begun and
when the cave tunnels began to fill with water, they clawed their way to a safe, sandy
ledge. They had no food. Water dripping from stalagmites kept them alive.
The rescue mission of the 12 boys and 25 year old coach of the Thai soccer team
glistened as an example of human compassion and international cooperation. Without
experts from around the world, the boys and their coach would have perished. As it
was, the world leaned in hoping, praying during the 3-day rescue mission. We listened
as expert divers led the boys, 4 at a time, on the perilous journey through the flooded,
pitch-dark labyrinth. It was a story of incredible cooperation, perseverance, ingenuity
The divers of the rescue mission all worked in extremely dangerous conditions. Many
were sent to the hospital; one 38-year old Thai navy SEAL died in the process. When I
hear stories of people like this who have literally laid their life on the line for another,
how can I help but think of the saying of Jesus, “This is my commandment, that you love
one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s
life for one’s friends” (or strangers) (John 15:12-13).
The boys and young coach also exhibited remarkable resilience and fortitude. On the
third day without food, the coach taught the boys to meditate as a way of calming their
body and easing the pain of hunger.
Others put their life on the line: On the first day of rescue, an Australian doctor made the
four-hour dive to the stranded soccer team and stayed with them the entire three days it
took to complete the rescue mission.
All 12 boys and the coach have pledged to enter the Buddhist monkhood (for an
unspecified period of time) to honour the diver who perished in the rescue effort.
While some seem hell-bent on dividing the world and grabbing as many resources and
riches as possible, others, at great personal risk, dive into the struggle for life.
Where do you find the Spirit of God at work?