Recently, in Chiang Rai, located in northern Thailand, 12 boys and a soccer coach were trapped by monsoon rains that flooded the Tham Luang cave system they were exploring during a team excursion. The Thai soccer team was eventually discovered nine days after becoming trapped.
Due to the complexity of the cave system, weather patterns and the inexperience of the team members, the rescue was going to be very difficult. The situation this soccer team experienced caught the attention of people all around the world.
What does the entrapment of this Thai soccer team teach us about the value of human life? I noticed that all the news coverage was focused on the urgent need to get these boys and their coach out of the cave as soon as possible. It did not seem to matter what the financial cost might be for equipment and personnel. The international community seemed determined to do whatever it took to save these 13 lives. It was clear the international community believed these 13 lives had a tremendous value and were willing to do whatever it took to rescue them.
So are we as followers of Christ willing to do the same? The Bible is very clear on the value of life from conception to natural death. I am thankful to say that, in the U.S., there are millions of dollars spent each year by Christians to serve women in crisis. In addition to this, there are churches and ministries all around the U.S. sharing Christ and offering help and healing to women and families in need. This is good news! I believe a direct result of the financial and spiritual investment of people in the U.S. has translated into thousands of women healed, people coming to Christ and lives saved.
As great as the need is here in the U.S., the need is multiplied further outside the country. Globally, 98 percent of all abortions take place outside the U.S. and Canada. The majority of life-affirming ministry, however, is taking place here in North America. This disproportion has left the global church unequipped and uninformed in this crucial area of Christian doctrine and life. In Asia, each year there are more than 35.8 million abortions, 10 million of these happening in China alone. This is compared to the 1.2 million abortions in the U.S. and Canada.
The global church has been and continues to advance around the world. The global church through numerous ministries is being trained and equipped in many areas. One of the greatest areas of need in training is in life-affirming ministry. This is not the only type of ministry that the church is engaged in, but it is a vital one and cannot be neglected.
Our desire is to see every church in the world mobilized to share Christ through life-affirming ministry. Local churches are the best instrument for sharing the Gospel and meeting the needs of the hurting. Jesus, during His short time on earth, left us an example. He spent hours proclaiming the coming Kingdom, discipling His followers, and healing the hurting.
Every church in the world is surrounded by lost and hurting people. Where there is a need for healing, there is also an opportunity. A church that is trained and has a vision for sharing Christ with the hurting is prepared to take advantage of the opportunity that already exists in their community.
Affirming life as Christians is not just about recognizing the value of these 13 people in Thailand but about recognizing and fighting for life at every stage and in every venue from conception to natural death. Please join me in praying for the global church to rise up and meet the needs of the hurting in their communities with the Gospel of Jesus.