Mary Coleman: Christian compassion

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, July 16th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

Last week’s rescue of the boys trapped inside a watery cave in Thailand gave Mary Coleman quite a bit to think about.


When I heard about the first two boys rescued from that cave in Thailand, I could not hold back my tears. I had been following the saga of the missing soccer team from the start, imagining myself in their parents’ place. First, I was overcome by concern; then relief that the boys and their coach were found alive; then sorrow after a brave diver lost his life; then dread as time and all the options seemed to be running out.

I prayed. I prayed that the remaining divers, the engineers, and the decision makers would have wisdom to secure the teams’ safe return. And I rejoiced with the entire world when all were brought safely from darkness into light.

The image of helpless children trapped in darkness held an important spiritual lesson for me, and maybe for all of us. We all know someone who needs to be rescued today:

Our neighbors are trapped in sin. Whether by their own wandering or because they have been led astray, they are spiritually hungry, and they are waiting for us to seek and find them.

We have friends suffocating under the weight of grief and loneliness. A phone call or an invitation to lunch may be the reason they escape their bed today.

We have aging relatives who feel trapped inside bodies that don’t work. Can we dive in and run errands or take them to church?

I could go on…

The prisoner surrounded by cinder block walls awaits letters and visitors.

The colleague facing a gloomy diagnosis hides desperation behind their smile.

The teenager whose dark mood sucks oxygen from the whole house… yes, even that soul needs rescuing.

The incredible effort in Thailand is a model for those of us who sing “Amazing Grace.” “I once was lost, but now I’m found” is motivation to give to others what we have received. Our freedom and spiritual fitness enable us to be on the rescuing end.

This requires a commitment to notice and care that there are lost and hurting souls among us. How often does our daily to-do list include the needs of anyone outside our families? Caught up in the joy of our own salvation, we forget there are people sitting in darkness who need the light we carry. Are we willing to meet them where they are?

There’s certainly a risk if we try to lead others to spiritual safety. Just as divers in Thailand feared the boys might panic during their underwater escape, we fear persecution and rejection. But let’s find the courage to wade in. Let’s trust the Lord that his Spirit and His word will soothe the hearts and minds of all those entrusted to us.

We can certainly leave all this spiritual rescuing to evangelists and other clergy. Or we can say as the prophet Isaiah did, “Lord, send me.”

For WORLD Radio, I’m Mary Coleman.

(AP Photo/Vincent Thian) Volunteers walk out from the entrance to the Tham Luang cave where just last week a soccer team and their coach were rescued in the Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Sunday, July 15, 2018. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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