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Boys in the Cave an article by Haddon Willmer

6 July 2018

Of course, we are concerned for the faraway boys in the cave in Thailand and pray for their full rescue.

We do not just feel for them, we feel with them. Though we are not in a cave under a mountain, is not our plight in life well pictured in theirs?

Lost in Darkness
Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness….

….. on them has light shone

After nine days in the darkness, there was a shining beam, a face, a voice…

Then they know they are not forgotten,

They get a bit of their story back, finding out what day it is, for in the cave they could not know night from day.

Not lost, but found…

Found by people who come through dark waters and tight tunnels to be with them…

Found but still in the cave…

Found but not yet rescued and restored…

Waters of Death
Blocked by waters, held back till they learn to swim…and dive?…

Even then, could they get through the narrow stretches where each must go alone…? Expert cavers take five hours to do it. It’s a big test.

Black waters signal death. They are not yet safe. There is no easy euphoric way to life. There is a baptism to be baptised with.

There is waiting with Noah in the ark until the waters begin to go down.

Can the waters be drained enough for the boys to wade, waist high, not needing to scuba? Perhaps.

Will the monsoon be considerate, delaying itself? Unlikely.

Might another shorter drier way be found and opened up? Air is getting into their cave so there is a continuous crack in the mountain somewhere. Unlikely.

Courage, brother, do not stumble, though the way be dark as night
The boys might get out in the next few days or they might not…

If not soon, they must survive in the depths for months… an unthinkable time in such conditions? At least the darkness will be lighted, with lamps not the sun… at least they will be supplied with daily food and warm clothes and health care… at least they will have lines of communication with their families…

Yet they need extraordinary strength to wait patiently… to hold together… to begin to bear the trauma which may stay with them long after they come home.

Hope given in the moment
There is no slick easy uncompromised recovery for people caught in any cave comparable with this one. Scars will not quickly fade.

Hope with the One who comes into the cave bringing light, who leads out of darkness and death along the long hard way, always bearing on his hands the signs that he comes to us all in the dark night where death is in life.

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