The Tenacity of Our Father
One early fall day, while rounding a corner by the football stadium at William & Mary, I heard Marv Levi, the coach, yelling, “Be tenacious men, be tenacious!” When I returned to my dorm, I looked it up. And I have thought since then, that our God is like that, determined, determined to reach his children and he wants us to be as well. And so, in Sunday’s gospel he sends us out to proclaim the Kingdom and to set the captives free.
While thinking and praying of these Thailand soccer players trapped in a cave, I remembered a story told by Scott Hahn in his book, A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture. It reminded me of God’s tenacity — and ours. Will we keep looking for his children?
Following an 8.2 earthquake in Armenia, a distressed father remembered what he had said to his son so many times, “No matter what happens, Armand, I’ll always be there.”
He reached the site where the school had been, but saw only a pile of rubble. He just stood there at first, fighting back tears, and then took off, stumbling over debris, toward the east corner where he knew his son’s classroom has been.
With nothing but his bare hands, he started to dig. He was desperately pulling up bricks and pieces of wall plaster, while others stood by watching in forlorn disbelief. He heard someone growl,” Forget it, mister. They’re all dead.”
He looked up, flustered, and replied, “You can grumble, or you can help me lift these bricks.” Only a few pitched in, and most of them gave up once their muscles began to ache. But the man couldn’t stop thinking about his son.
He kept digging and digging – for hours… 12 hours… 18 hours… 24 hours… 36 hours…. Finally, into the 38th hour, he heard a muffled groan from under a piece of wallboard.
He seized the board, pulled it back, and cried,” ARMAND!” From the darkness came a slight shaking voice,” Papa…!”
Other weak voices began calling out, as the young survivors stirred beneath the still uncleared rubble. Gasps and shouts of bewildered relief came from the few onlookers and parents who remained. They found 14 of the 33 students still alive.
When Armand finally emerged, he tried to help dig, until all his surviving classmates were out. Everybody standing there heard him as he turned to his friends and said, “See, I told you my father wouldn’t forget us.”
That’s the kind of faith we need because that’s the kind of Father we have.
Let’s go get them,