Pain and struggle can become this firm foundation for one’s faith and character.
I thought about this after reading a little bit more about the 25 year old soccer coach, Akkapol Chanthawong, who, no doubt, played a huge role in keeping his soccer team alive, hopeful, and calm for the nine days it took a rescue team to locate them in the Thailand cave they became trapped in.
“He was orphaned (at 10 years old) after a disease spread through his town, killing his parents and his younger brother. He moved to a monastery, but has moved back to the region to care for an ailing grandmother.” -CBS News
As I read about this coach’s life, I couldn’t help but have this thought. Of all the people that could have been stuck in the cave with those boys for nine days, it’s this young man…a man who had already learned how to navigate through a seemingly hopeless situation, a man who had already learned that perseverance through struggle and pain is possible.
His pain became a tool that helped to keep a whole team of young boys alive for nine days.
This is redemption at its best.
When life seems cruel, this is what fills my heart with hope, and yes…even joy.
I know this nightmare is far from over. I see the tragedy and hardship in the situation. I see the unfairness…but then, I read stories like this and I am reminded that our pain and struggle is never wasted; it is never in vain.
Our past navigation through pain or grief becomes this oxygen mask we extend to another human being in need. And we can say with confidence… grab hold, don’t let go, rescue is coming.