Thai cave rescue, 1 year on: Purpose in passion

Tricia Tan // July 11, 2019, 5:17 pm

Thai cave rescue

Original photo source: CNN

“I dive for passion and always wondered if it would have purpose. Last two weeks was what I prepared for my entire life.”John Volanthen

This time last year, the world watched and waited with bated breath as the Tham Luang cave rescue got underway. The goal was to pull the 13 Wild Boars – 12 boys and their football coach – out of the cave before time ran out.

Throughout the ordeal, amidst the many heroes on scene, I was most intrigued and inspired by the two brilliant cave rescue divers who personified calmness and courage in the face of danger.

Rick Stanton and John Volanthen were the British cave diving experts who first located the boys after they had gone missing for nine days. The duo had arrived in Thailand three days after the boys were first reported missing.

Eventually, with the help of an international team of experts and divers, the boys were pulled to safety. 

Volanthen’s role in the rescue fascinates me: He was an IT consultant who had passions such as cave diving. But he wondered if there ever would be a purpose in his passion. 

And that got me thinking. God created us for a purpose, but do we know what that purpose is? Having passions is great, but knowing our kingdom assignment – our real purpose – is key.

Volanthen was ready for this dangerous duty because he had been training himself. His passion led to practice. And faithfulness at honing his craft meant that he became ready for such an event as the Tham Luang cave rescue. He was ready when the time came. Faithfulness determines readiness. 

It’s so critical to train towards endurance and excellence – who knows if an assignment may involve lives at stake?

For the Wild Boars themselves, the perseverance that they cultivated during their soccer training would have also helped them in staying alive while waiting to be rescued.

How do I discern God’s will for my life?

The experiences of the boys and Volanthen remind me of a famous biblical character: King David.

We’ve all heard of the story of David and Goliath. But what some of us may not realise is that prior to slaying this giant, David had fought a bear and lion in his youth. In these early encounters (2 Samuel 17:34-35), God was already preparing David for the fight of his life.

There’s also the story of Zechariah. Luke recorded that while he was faithfully performing his duties, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense (Luke‬ ‭1:8-9‬).

And there and then, the messenger of God appeared to him and announced his assignment: To steward well his son (John the Baptist) whose voice would make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Zechariah’s faithfulness made him ready for his assignment when the time came. 

Has God asked you to do something that seems impossible or that you’re an unlikely candidate for? 

Be encouraged that for any kingdom assignments that we have been given, He has already prepared us for it. All we need is to have the right posture in our hearts to receive them and obey Him in fulfilling them.


  1. What are your passions in life?
  2. How do you think God might be training and sharpening you for His purposes?
  3. How can you be faithful in your season of life?