God of the cave posted by tmangham on Apr 26, 2013
Have you felt trapped in life? Unable to move forward or back? Have you been in a place where your own strength and ingenuity is rendered useless?
This, my friend, is a “cave experience.” The good news is that God not only understands, but He will use the “cave experience” to advance your spiritual growth.
David and caves
Before his cave experience, the Psalmist David lived a charmed life. David was chosen at a young age, expected to do great things and invited to live in the King’s Court. He became the King’s favorite singer-song-writer, married the King’s daughter and later became wildly successful as a warrior. Everything David touched seemed to turn to gold.
It then all fell apart. Due to the jealousy of King Saul, David was chased out of Jerusalem, lost his job, his security, his wife, his spiritual mentor Samuel and his best friend Jonathan. He fled to the only place that was safe… a cave in a forgotten wilderness. That is where he lived for 10 years.
Modern day caves
So what is the equivalent of David’s cave experience in our day and age? I suggest our “cave experiences” are where we end up when all the props, supports and scaffolding of life are stripped away. A cave, is a place were dreams go to die. You may be in the doorway of a cave right now:
- Your long-standing desire or goal has never worked out.
- You are facing enormous financial pressure.
- Your marriage is rocky with hopes dashed by disappointment or desertion.
- A physical condition has caused you or someone you love to lose their health.
- You have made a poor decision or been affected by one.
- You or someone close to you have betrayed a core value.
Perhaps right now you have been left in a cave of disappointment, remorse, regret, failure and fear. This was David’s experience. He was left feeling alone and forgotten. Maybe in the early years of his life, David had slowly allowed his public life to run ahead of his contemplative life. What he needed most was to be still… and when his life was stilled… he found strength.
Where did David find strength? It was not in his own resilience or brilliance. It was not in his capacity or determination. Rather, 1 Samuel 30:6 says that, David found strength in the Lord his God.
When David falls, he doesn’t fall into space, he falls into grace! He falls into the loving arms of God and he found strength in the Lord his God! In his book “Knowing God” J.I. Packer says, “God draws us closer and closer to Himself by exposing us to things that overwhelm us with a sense of our own inadequacy which drives us to cling to Him more closely.”
God does His best work in caves where our lives are molded and shaped. The cave is when all the outer trappings of life have been stripped away and we get to a place where… all we have is God! And we find that God is enough.
Christ and caves
Caves are the very reason God sent His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ ministry was to help us in and through ‘cave experiences:’
- On one occasion, Jesus entered a cave were He raised Lazarus from the dead!
- Jesus Himself was locked in a cave after He was crucified.
The cave is where God resurrects the dead! It is where God resurrects dead dreams, dead marriages and dead hopes of change.
Cave experiences are when our lives are hushed… and it is then that God does His best work in us. He helps us realign our life so our contemplative life gives guidance to our public life and we find, as David found centuries ago, that our strength is in the Lord our God.
(photo cred: Wikipedia)