John 14:6 (New International Version)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
The Black Hills surrounding Rapid City, South Dakota are full of beautiful but mysterious caverns. These are bursting with innumerable chambers, some large, some small, and everywhere you look there are colorful varieties of crystal, including flowstone, frost crystal, logomites, stalactites, and stalagmites. Many of these caverns have been turned into tourist attractions, earning their owners a lucrative income during tourist season.
When all of the lights are turned off however, these beautiful caverns become rather lugubre (gloomy, dismal). Your view is limited to pure blackness. Someone can wave his hand in front of your face and jump up and down (Be careful if you try this! The ceiling can be quite low sometimes! Ouch!), but though you might feel the breeze of the movement, you will see nothing at all. You are completely surrounded by black. For anyone who is claustrophobic, this could mean panic!
Once light is restored, your eyes gradually adapt, and you once again discover the beauty of your surroundings.
This experience makes you realize that there is beauty no matter where you are. Your life may seem to be in the deepest, blackest pit, but if you take the time to look attentively around you, you will notice that beauty and grace continue to surround you.
We were told that in the 1800s, the Black Hills caverns were used for initiations. People were brought deep down into the caves, then the guide would disappear with the light and they had to find their way back out in the dark. If they succeeded in reaching the exit (that is, if they were able to avoid falling over a precipice, if the cuts they received weren't too deep, and if they survived the many bruises and head bangings!), they were accepted into the clan of cave dwellers.
I think I would have passed on that one, don't you?
But one has to wonder how anyone can survive the deepest recesses of these lugubre pits, with no source of light. How can anyone come out alive?
And what about the deep, black pits of life that circumstances often throw us into? How can anyone come out of these alive?
The answer is simple: Faith. When you face the impossible, when you find yourself in the deepest, darkest, most-impossible situations of life, when hope has become a souvenir from the past and all of your efforts led you only deeper and deeper into the grime, there is Someone who has invested in you. Someone who died for you so that you could live. And not just in this temporal existence either, but eternally, with Him as your friend.
His resurrection is proof that His claims are true, and that same resurrection power is offered to you! "His divine power has given us everything we need for life…" (2 Peter 1:3 NIV); "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being…" (Eph 3:16 NIV); "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…" (Eph 1:18-20 NIV)
When we find ourselves in the midst of the darkest circumstances without a glimmer of hope on the horizon, we each have a choice to make. We can simmer in hopelessness, surrounded by our darkest thoughts and blackest circumstances, or we can reach out to the helping hand that Jesus offers us. Friends, no matter what your impossibly dark situation is, have faith. Not in yourself, for when we trust in our own endeavors, we limit ourselves. Instead, trust in the One who can really get you out of there! Only when we trust solely in Jesus and in His loving power for us will we be able to see the impossible becoming accomplished. "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matt 17:20 NIV)
Are you lost in one of those dark, slimy caverns of life? Follow Him. He knows the way out!
Dear Lord we want to thank You for being there to lead us in what ever stage of life we are. In Jesus' name, Amen.