On Your Lap, On Your Heart


My sainted father used to say: “Your children are always with you. When they’re young, they’re on your lap. When they’re old, they’re on your heart.” Truer words were never spoken.

Those words especially came to mind late last week and early this week as news reports focused on 12 teen-aged soccer team members and their young adult coach. All of them were trapped in a flooded cave in northern Thailand near the border with Myanmar.

Eight of the boys were rescued by a team of Thai and international divers on Sunday and Monday. The remaining four boys and their 25-year-old coach were brought out safely Tuesday.

News reports properly focused on the 13 captives, along with the sophisticated, valiant, and dangerous efforts required to rescue them. That task was accomplished safely and successfully. Sadly, however, one rescuer, an experienced volunteer diver, died in the process.

One report (http://time.com/5334374/boys-rescued-thailand-cave/) said: The plight of the boys and their coach has captivated Thailand and much of the world — from the heart-sinking news that they were missing to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys when they were found 10 days later by a pair of British divers. They were trapped in the Tham Luan Nang Non cave on June 23, when they were exploring it after a soccer practice and it became flooded by monsoon rains.

Each of the boys, ages 11 to 16 and with no diving experience, was guided out by a pair of divers in three days of intricate and high-stakes operations. The route, in some places just a crawl space, had oxygen canisters positioned at regular intervals to refresh each team’s air supply.

One Thai man who helped provide food and necessities to rescue workers and journalists, said a “miracle” had happened.  “It’s hope and faith that has brought us this success.” Because the vast majority of people in Thailand are practitioners of Theravada Buddhism, the country’s official religion, it’s certainly possible and perhaps probable that people in Thailand are thanking Buddha for this rescue. You and I would direct our thanksgiving to the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Be that as it may, can you imagine the anguish and fear the parents of these boys experienced during their sons’ 18 days of captivity? During that time my father’s words must have been accurately descriptive of the emotions of these parents.

For 18 days these boys were nowhere near their parents’ laps but assuredly and absolutely were on their hearts. God be praised for the safe reunion of these parents and their sons!

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