Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
“Heavy rains forecast for northern Thailand could worsen flooding in a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach are waiting to be extracted by rescuers…The 13, who disappeared when flooding trapped them in the cave they were exploring on June 23, were found by rescue divers late Monday night.” National Post, July 4, 2018
The words “lost and found” were very much on my mind in early July. The catalyst was news (see quote) that a youth soccer team and their coach had gone missing in some caverns in northern Thailand. After many days of unsuccessful searching, concerns mounted that they might not be located prior to seasonal flooding of the caverns caused by torrential rains.
Stories like this or the trapped Chilean miners in 2010 capture worldwide attention. It seems no amount of effort – material, human or financial – is too much. In this instance, the rescue involved elite diving experts and thousands of volunteers.
The story ended on a happy note. On July 10th, rescuers extracted the last boy and his coach and all 13 were recovering well in hospital. Similarly, the Chilean mine disaster that transfixed the world turned into global celebration as all 33 trapped miners were rescued.
What is it about these stories that move people everywhere – irrespective of ethnicity, culture or socio-economic level – to care so intensely? As I read accounts and watched people on television responding to the event, it was clear that, for the most part, the reaction was visceral, not intellectual. There was this sense from the commentary that we ought to do whatever it takes to rescue the boys.
Intellectual explanations such as the youth of the victims or the horror of the situation cannot, in my opinion, fully account for the worldwide outpouring of concern. As a student of the Bible, I believe that the intensity of the global response relates fundamentally to, and is strong evidence for, God of the Bible.
According to the biblical account of beginnings, God created humankind in His image. Among other things, this means that He has wired our hearts with the moral law. As a result, we instinctively know the right response to these situations. In this case, the default response was deep concern for the safe rescue of the boys and their coach.
This “lost and found” tale brings to mind the hymn “Amazing Grace.” The author, John Newton, a former slave trader, summarized his life with the words, “I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind but now I see.”
Unlike the situation in Thailand, I didn’t know I was lost until I encountered Jesus in my mid-thirties. In a flash of revelation, I realized that not only was I lost but that Jesus was my rescuer. The Bible makes clear that my rescue was initiated 2,000 years ago when Jesus went to the cross to die in my place. However, my recognition that I was lost and my acceptance of Jesus’ forgiveness and leadership were the necessary and sufficient conditions to effect my rescue.
In the words of St. Augustine, “Forgiveness is the remission of sins. For it is by this that what has been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again.”
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.