When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. (Isaiah 43:1)
We were traveling with very limited access to news when reports of the plight of the twelve young soccer players and their coach began to surface. We learned former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan sacrificed his life for them. He was part of the team trying to save them from the water-filled cave in which they were trapped. Wednesday (July 10) we learned all of the boys and their coach had been safely rescued.
I can only imagine the horror of the parents waiting to learn if their sons made it out safely; or the nail-biting anxiety of family members following the progress of the rescue divers. The heroic efforts of the skilled, international dive team are epic. They remind me of the extraordinary efforts it took to rescue the thirty-three Chilean minors back in 2010. Remember when 18-month-old Jessica was rescued after she fell into a deep well in Midland, Texas in 1987? Millions of us were riveted to the news as these rescue stories unfolded.
Rescue Stories Make Great Movies
These real-life rescue missions are sometimes turned into movies that keep us on the edge of our seats even though we know how the stories end. We are inspired watching strangers work as a team to apply their combined resources, skills and experiences to get people out of life-threatening situations to safety. We cheer them on and give a collective sigh of relief when the operation is finished.
Yet somehow this good news about this most recent rescue operation discourages me as much as it encourages me. I am discouraged because such a fantastic effort proves we have what it takes to rescue and assist people caught in horrific situations. So why can we not apply that same ingenuity and determination to help children caught in the cross fire of wars, poverty, and crime?
I cannot understand how we can go to such extreme efforts to rescue boys in a cave, men trapped in a mine, and a toddler stuck in a well, but we fail again and again to muster enough compassion to mitigate the suffering of thousands of other innocent children in our global village.
Our Inconsistent Compassion Response
How can we muster such energetic commitment to rescue a few but ignore the plight of the masses? How can we do whatever it takes to rescue boys in a cave but play the blame game when toddlers and terrified young children are taken from parents at our borders, are hauled into court hearings without their parents, or sent hundreds of miles away from anyone they know?
Maybe I’m missing something. If that is so, I wish someone could explain why some children merit pullout-the-stops efforts of the global community while others are denied even the comfort of their families in their stress.
I wish I had answers to explain this great inconsistency. I wish I could understand why we can cheer for the salvation of one group of children but refuse to show even a limited level of concern for other children. The boys in the cave went in even though signs warned it was dangerous and to stay out. Meanwhile, thousands of toddlers and young children suffer merely because of where they were born. What criteria should we use to decide who is worthy of our best efforts and who should be denied their most basic needs?
I cannot understand it. Can you? If so, please help me understand this.