The story has gripped a nation – 12 young Thai boys and their football coach have been trapped in a flooded cave system for days.
On 23rd June, while out on a day-trip, they went to explore the caves. But heavy rains brought flash flood waters into the cave and they were soon cut off.
When they were reported missing that evening a huge search and rescue operation swung into motion. The army were mobilised to help, along with navy divers and cave diving experts.
At last, on 2nd July, nine days after the boys entered the cave, two British divers found them! All 13 in the group were alive and in pretty good shape given the conditions they’d endured for so long – no food, barely any water, no light, huddled on a rocky ledge in a flooded cave more than 2km inside the mountain.
What a terrible experience – the hunger and thirst, the discomfort, the fear, completely cut off with no way of knowing whether they’d ever be found alive. They must have felt hopelessly lost and shut away in the total darkness.
As awful as the experience of these boys is, we’re all in a situation even worse.
The Bible shows us that by nature we are in ‘the dominion of darkness’ (1). You may not be stuck in a cave, but you are in a deep spiritual darkness. It’s the darkness of being cut off from the life and joyful presence of God. ‘God is light; in him is no darkness at all’ (2). There’s no sin in God, nor anything in any way impure, wrong, false or foul.
But that’s not true of us. We are in the darkness of sin; our hearts are ruled by impurity, wrong motives and desires, falsehood, pride, and many such things. We don’t want to let God’s truth into our hearts – we don’t want Jesus, ‘the Light of the world’ (3) because he makes uncomfortable demands on us; he shows us that we’re wrong and need to change. He says, ‘This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil’ (4). We are spiritually dead, hopelessly lost, shut away in total darkness and heading for the darkness of everlasting destruction.
The Thai boys in the cave have one great advantage over us in our spiritual darkness: They know that they’re lost. They know they’re in great danger. They know they’re in the dark.
But we live in such great spiritual darkness that we don’t even recognise that we’re lost, in danger and in the dark. You will probably deny that you’re in the dark. In fact you may say that you’ve been enlightened by science and reason. You may say that you’ve thrown off the darkness and ignorance of religion – that you see clearly.
But that’s all part of the tragic delusion of being in the darkness. The Bible tells us that, ‘The god of this age [that is, the devil] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God’ (5). The greatest good news in the world – the message about Jesus Christ coming to save us – seems like foolishness to us. And the lie that we are good enough and don’t need God seems to us like reality. Can anything be worse than to be lost in the darkness without even realising it?
The Thai boys in the cave have thankfully been found. Now no expense is being spared to actually rescue them from their dark prison.
Is there any way for us to be found and rescued from the darkness? Yes – and that’s the wonderful good news of the Bible! It tells us that God ‘has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins’ (6).
This can be your joyful experience!
We read here of ‘redemption’ – that’s paying a price to secure us. We read of ‘forgiveness of sins’ – our sins cut us off from the life and love of God, but Christ died on the cross at Calvary to pay the penalty for our sins and to secure forgiveness for all his people. The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to be our ‘Search & Rescuer.’ He ‘came to seek and to save the lost’ (7). He died to set us free ‘from the dominion of darkness.’ God wants us for his kingdom – ‘the kingdom of the Son he loves.’ He wants us ‘to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light’ (8).
So he sent his Son Jesus to live and to die and to rise from the dead for us. And now he calls us to repent of our sin – which means to confess it to him and turn from it. He calls us to trust in Christ – who is the only One that can rescue us from the guilt and penalty and power of our sin.
It could be days, weeks, or even months before the Thai boys and their football coach can be prepared and then brought out of that dark and dangerous cave.
But you can turn to Christ right now, with no preparatory training. He’s done everything for you. He’s ready to save you. His arms are outstretched towards you.
So ask him to lift you from the darkness of sin and death and certain hell, and to bring you into his glorious, light-filled, everlasting kingdom of life!
1 – Colossians 1v13
2 – 1 John 1v5
3 – John’s Gospel 8v12
4 – John’s Gospel 3v19
5 – 2 Corinthians 4v4
6 – Colossians 1v13-14
7 – Luke’s Gospel 19v10
8 – Colossians 1v12