What if there had been 30 or 300 Americans released? Would it have been as powerful a story?
Journalistic history tells us that large numbers don’t necessarily make as much news as when a precious few are involved whose individuality and humanness shine through.
The word rescue causes many dramatic pictures to flood our minds, stir our emotions. For Christians the number three may have even have greater religious significance as it reflects the holy trinity.
Are not some of the most dramatic, amazing and exciting rescues found in the Bible?
One thinks of Daniel rescued from the lion’s den. Jonah freed from the whale’s stomach. David brilliantly escaping Goliath’s might.
If you look at some of the major stories about rescues of people from harm’s way, the rivers of refuges freed from torture, saved from suffering and starvation, there is strong evidence that in news less outweighs more in terms of impactful and dramatic news.
Many remember the 5-year-old boy trapped in the South African mineshaft who ultimately had to be buried there. Hearts worldwide went out to that little boy.
And in 2015 who can forget that shocking image of a drowned Syrian boy at the water’s edge showing the tragic plight of refugees attempting to reach Greece.
And then sadly there was Otto Warmbier, the American student released after more than a year in a coma in North Korea. We shall never forget him.
Perhaps it’s because it’s harder for us to get our heads and hearts around larger numbers of rescued and released, including the millions trapped and living hopelessly in despair.
The thousands of immigrants fleeing the dangers of their homelands may be too large in numbers to contemplate, to have empathy with as the three Americans released from North Korea.
The thousands of victims trapped, tortured and made homeless by fires, storms and earthquakes, the scores blown up by terrorists, the legions executed and murdered by heartless armies are almost unimaginable and so difficult for the human mind to comprehend.
But give us one, two or three individuals saved and we all rejoice even at 3 am.
Too bad mankind can’t feel that human connection when so many are affected by death, torture and hunger, by the harshest of adversities.
The millions seem no match for the power of three. Amen.
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