I don’t like this cave I’m in. Not one bit.
It’s uncomfortably damp.
And it smells like rancid mushrooms.
I feel terribly alone one minute and the next, I’m not sure I’m alone in here at all. I think I can hear someone – or something – breathing. If I strain hard enough in the darkness, I can make out a shape with a head on the far side of the cave.
Not moving. Biding time. Watching me.
I feel my skin crawl. But I’ve no one to blame but myself. I chose to come in here. I slipped into the cave of disappointment on my own volition. No one chased me here or forced me to enter. It just seemed the only place to go under the circumstances I was facing. Hard times. So much heartache. So much uncertainty.
And there was the yawning mouth of the cave right there. Calling my name.
So here I am. Hating the darkness and wishing I could find a way to escape this cave of disappointment. Disappointment over people I thought I knew and trusted. Disappointment with having to witness injustice and helplessly watch those I love suffer. Disappointment with indescribably difficult circumstances. Disappointment with life itself.
And suddenly a shepherd king named David comes to mind. He spent a lot of time in caves too, as I recall. He was running away from a man (Saul) he once trusted and even revered; a hand-picked-by-God king whom David had been honored to serve and comfort with music during his deepest emotional struggles. A man who then turned on David and sought to take his life.
And so David fled to caves (documented in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel). Many different caves over the years. Many different disappointments.
Yes, David lost much. He first lost his job as a shepherd, then as beloved court musician, then his status as famous local-boy-makes-good giant-killer. He lost the woman he loved (Michal) when her father intentionally and maliciously married her off to another man. He lost both his spiritual mentor (Samuel) and his best friend in the world (Jonathan) to death. He lost his home, the allegiance of his own son, and he was forced, through no fault of his own, for much of his life to become a fugitive.
A cave-dwelling fugitive.
And there he must’ve sat, like me at the moment, shivering in the cold blackness, feeling the deep disappointments of life in the marrow of his bones.
The Cave is an awful place. It sucks light, joy, and hope right out of us. Drains us dry. Because it makes us overlook all the things we have to be grateful for, all the blessings of life that our Papa God has lavished upon us. Things we forget to notice when times get hard. When things don’t turn out the way we envisioned; when dear ones betray us and God. When we’ve lost jobs, security, loved ones, mentors, friends, health, or the dreams we secretly nurtured.
And we simply can’t understand why.
I know you’ve spent some time in The Cave too. And you know how painful it can be. Yet The Cave is where Papa God does some of His finest work on us. The Cave is where He keeps his sharpest chisels and coarsest sanders. Where He meets us one-on-one to shape and mold us into the beloved son or daughter He’s had in mind for us to be from the very beginning.
Mother Teresa, who spent quite a few of her precious years here on earth in The Cave, said, “You’ll never know Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you’ve got.” In her own barren cave of disappointment, she learned that when all else seems lost, He is enough. And He was.
You know, the more I stare through the murkiness of this cave, I can begin to make out the identity of the shape over there, patiently biding time, waiting, watching me. It is a person. It’s … why, it’s Jesus.
I get the feeling He’s been waiting there for me to notice that I’m not alone. Maybe for quite a long time. And now He’s drawing nearer. There’s a warm light radiating from His eyes. I think He’s got something in His hand. And He’s smiling.
Tell me, dear friend, when have you spent time in The Cave?
Beth Willis miller says
Deb, yes, I have spent time in “disappointment caves.” Just want to share this 12-minute video which deals with David’s time in the cave. It’s a powerful new worship song and short film, filmed completely in Israel. The God Who Sees is a short film directed by Kathie Lee Gifford based on a song written by Gifford and Grammy-nominated, Nicole C. Mullen. Mullen is featured as the narrator and performer as she journeys throughout the Holy Land recounting the stories of Hagar, Ruth, and David during their wilderness experiences, and ending with Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem at the tomb of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Incredibly moving and absolutely beautiful music video. Thanks so much for sharing it with us, Beth.
Beautiful and intensely moving video, Beth. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.
Oh Debbie. We’ve all been in that awful, terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad cave. What a beautiful reminder of Jesus love, watchcare and protection over us….all the time…even when we’re in those dark days when we need Him most and just dont see Him. He’s there.
I love you.
Love you more.
Thanks I needed that. 😉
I have a feeling a lot of us are in our own caves at the same time but we are simply unaware. Praying right now that you’ll take a step closer to the sonlight beaming at the mouth of your cave, Cindy.
Yes I have often thought that too. Thank you for praying for me. I will pray for you and all the others unseen in their caves. 😉
Amy McCord says
Sweet friend, I am right there in the cave with you & Jesus. However, I am searching for the Light in The Cave, Jesus and His still small voice. But still waiting for an answer, a sign, a change in circumstance, if any come….. Not sure why or how exactly I got here, but knowing Jesus is with me and I will soon find my way out. Know that for now, I am right beside you, giving you hugs and prayers.
Lifting you in prayer right now, Amy, and a BIG hug right back atcha, girlfriend.
I once wallowed in that cave for what seemed like an eternity. I was alone. God was so distant, so aloof. He only frequented ivory towers. Never dull, dank, lifeless caves.
Why do toddlers get sick and die? Why do the most faithful get struck down in the primes of their lives? Why do those we love betray us? Why do the wicked prosper? Why did Jesus’ band of brothers go by the martyrdom of their master? “Why” is the only word that interminably echoes in that cave. It bears no fruit. It only deludes the asked.
It leads to self pity and faithlessness. Eventually it births ambivalence where the darkness is debilitating and ultimately paralyzing.
Then, one day my “Why?” was cut short. From a nook in the rocks, I was startled by a whisper. “Its time”. Someone tapped my shoulder and grabbed my hand. Then tugged and pulled me through a series of narrow paths where the why’s still reverberated. Then across a rickety bridge and finally to an opening. The Light was so blinding but ever so beautiful. This was a new beginning where His faith pierced my darkness.
After many years I recently retreated to that cave where seeds of anger, frustration and doubt were in abundance. But this time only for a short visit. There’s nothing there for me.
King Jesus frequents the darkest places where we think He isn’t. He rescues captives and lifts up confused and fallen followers. But I prefer to see Him in the light of His glory. One day when we gaze into His eyes, the memory of all those cave days (which sometimes turn to years), will vanish. Only His presence will remain.
I truly despise that cave but I must admit that it makes the Light that much brighter.
Well done, Deb. Spot on!
Lilly Pennington says
Always love your “Too Blessed To Be Stressed” series and their light-hearted and somewhat comedic genius, but I am truly impressed and intrigued with this short, The Cave, and its more dramatic and soul searching words. Kudos to you Deb . . . Very well written! P. S. Miss you!
It seems that we can walk into these caves throughout our lives. I’ve been there and have sat and just wondered why God would even allow me to enter such a cave! He could have just prevented all the pain and heartache. We won’t understand the “why” on this side of eternity. The one saving grace was knowing that He was there and that He would lead me out. Sometimes it took much longer than I preferred, for sure! Now, I see that God allows us to support others who are struggling deep within a caves.
Such a great post and insight into the deep trials of life!
Prayers and hugs, my sweet sister!