We were fixated these past two weeks as our hearts were drawn into Tham Luang cave. We were gripped in anxiety until tension dissolved into ecstasy. In this episode of life, something quite extraordinary came out of humankind. At the jubilant end, Thai Navy Seals posted, “We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what. All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave”. I choose “miracle”.

I have always lived with the belief that there are no coincidences. Luck is the far-sightedness of the Divine. It was reported that the British diver who found the boys was laying guide lines in the water and his rope had come to an end coincidentally at the place where the boys were. Coincidence or a moment the unseen guiding hand of the Divine became visible? Nonetheless, prayers were answered, search became rescue.

This is an incredible story of hope and love. We were captivated by the human spirit, charmed by the love that flowed out of it. From the divers to the cleaners, there were multiple little stories of courage and bravery, of kindness and generosity. They came from all over Thailand and from the world. No one came to profit, only to give. One, Sanam Gunan came and gave his life. One human virtue stood above all: selflessness.

This is a timely lesson for all of us in a world falling out of orbit, gravitating towards self-centeredness. In modest Mae Sai, poor people taught the rich how to live. A small village showed the big world that there is a better way. Out of the poverty as one individual, there was richness in simply coming together when everyone selflessly put together what they know how to do, however humble that skill set may be.

We encountered great examples of selflessness. Valeepoan Gunan who lost her husband urged the boys not to blame themselves. Coach Ek, a convenient figure to lay blame on was instead appreciated by parents like an angel sent to be the guardian of the boys and was touchingly told, “When he comes out, we have to heal his heart. My dear Ek, I would never blame you.” Then there were the poor farmers who allowed their rice fields to be flooded, many rejecting compensation wanting simply to give.

No claims of glory, no blame, no costs, no personal rights, no compensation. Just gratefulness. There is something powerful for humanity here. Love at its purest flowed. When mission impossible became mission possible, leader of the rescue operation, Mr Narongsak said, “This mission was successful because we had power. The power of love”. Indeed, and who and what or can science dispute this?

Love has its source in God. God does not claim for us to believe in Him. He does not rule us with an authority that forces us into submission. It is our free choice. We can choose to see him or to hide him in disbelieving coincidences. We can choose to walk away from Tham Luang cave not believing that God does exist.

In a chaotic finale to the rescue, as the last rescuers walked out of the cave it suddenly began to flood rapidly. Locals believed it was divine intervention, “It was protected until the end”. I guess they chose “miracle” too.

God will just continue to try to win our hearts. If He doesn’t, He will just shake off the dust from his sandal and continue to wait in hope for us. At Tham Luang, we saw the kingdom of God in our midst. We experienced what the world would be like when true love freely flows. We do not need science or miracle, just our true uncorrupted human spirit of selflessness. This is what we carry in our backpack through the journey of our earthly life. This is the power of love. Hooyah.

“The basic human virtue of helping one another in a spirit of generosity and love, is in itself a power of formidable strength which can make humankind go on living together in everlasting peace.” – His Majesty, King Vajiralongkorn.

Saman Gunan

A drawing in tribute of Sanam Gunan telling the kids not to worry but grow up as good people. Such is the touch of love, an invaluable lesson we learn from Tham Luang.

15th Ordinary Sunday