A Love That Rescues
12 + 1 – 1 = LOVE Steve Pettit Love is a difficult reality to define and it doesn’t fit neatly into a mathematical equation. But occasionally we witness an act of love that helps us to better comprehend what sacrificial love is and what it costs. Eighteen days the world was glued to the news hoping to see 12 teenage soccer players, and their coach, rescued from being trapped in a cave filling rapidly with water and expelling precious volumes of oxygen. Parents were teetering on the brink of emotional breakdown while rescue workers devised and executed their best plans for the extraction of 13, hopefully all alive. The financial cost for this rescue has not yet been calculated but soon those numbers will be crunched and the price for this rescue will be staggering. Right now the world rejoices that all 12 boys have survived along with their coach. Not one of those boys will ever forget the day they saw light at the end of a long tunnel. Yes, the world breathed a sigh of relief on July 9th and 10th when the Wild Boar soccer team came up for air. None of the boys had any scuba experience and most could not swim. It was nothing short of a miracle for all of them to swim, hike, crawl and scuba through tight passages filled with water. The world rejoices for the 13 and applauds the courageous efforts of the living rescuers. But let us never forget the one who gave his life to save the 13. Former Sgt. Saman Kunan laid down his life trying to free thirteen souls he never met. He wasn’t ordered to participate in the rescue. He was highly experienced and his expertise was needed for the rescue. So he volunteered to lay down his life so that others could live. Sgt. Kunan was part of the first team to enter the cave in an effort to bring oxygen to strategic points along the trail leading to the boys and their coach. In his compassionate and valiant journey to save precious lives, Saman Kunan died of oxygen deprivation. Jesus spoke of this kind of love when he said to his followers, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). This team of boys and their coach were not his friends. He didn’t even know them. But that’s how real love is expressed. I am in awe of a love that is much like the love of Jesus, the Savior who laid down his life for friends and foe…for the world. Now that is love! When it comes to rescue the cost is always great. It takes a lot of money to make rescues. It takes sacrifice, planning and brave execution of plans to save a life. At Big World Project we do all we can to provide the funds needed to those skilled in making “streetkid” rescues. We work hard to find all the money necessary to rescue as many children as possible trying to survive the dangerous streets of megalopolises around the world. We rescue one child after another with the lifeline of love. Love is God’s oxygen for rescue. We can’t live without it. And our greatest privilege in this life is to lay down our lives so that another can live. It might do us well to remember that the minus one is the person who lays down their life, their comforts, their rights for another, like a child who is trapped in extreme poverty and in danger of losing their life. Our hearts focused on 12 + 1 last week. This week I want to encourage you to remember the millions of children who are presently fighting to survive on the streets, of whom thousands will perish without our willingness to engage in their rescue. May I encourage you to love a child with us through a sponsorship of $20 a month for one year? It’s an investment you’ll never regret. It will be a lifeline to a child who needs just a little air of opportunity to live a life worth living. My heart gives thanks to God for Saman Kunan and my prayer is that all of us would strive to follow his example of love.