Days in the Cave Part 3

Lyn Thompson, Pastoral Care, CTCA/SRMC

David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave of Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. - 1Samuel 22:1

Days in the cave can be scary, doubtful and depressing, especially if God doesn't let you see when they’ll end. But they serve a variety of purposes in God's plan, not the least of which is to break you, empty you of self once again and put your focus and dependency back on Him.

When God does begin to shed light or give direction, you need to be ready to move with Him out of the cave, because, besides being a place of renewed focus on God, it can also be a battleground and homefront of the enemy. It is during these stressful and trying times, when your emotions and thoughts can run wild, that Satan will try to paralyze you, destroy your usefulness, shipwreck you. If he can convince you that God is playing tricks on you, has forgotten you or that your life is worthless and hopeless, he can permanently debilitate you.

To avoid this, don't dwell too long on wanting answers to all your questions (the hows, whys and how longs, etc.) regarding whatever you’re facing. Some of these are God's alone, and as long as He knows them, let Him hold onto them in safekeeping until He's ready for you to know, which may not be until you meet Him face-to-face.

Additionally, get into God’s Word and pay special attention to who God says He is, His mighty works, His promises. Sometimes, in the cave, you feel so hopeless, the temptation is to not even open the Bible, let alone read it. But push through that temptation. Even if it doesn't pull you up out of the darkness immediately, God's Word is powerful, for the Spirit of God infuses it with life suited uniquely for your situation. God promises in Isaiah 55:11 that His Word will never return to Him void but will accomplish all He desires. It's one of our supernatural weapons against Satan (II Cor. 10:4-5). If you’ve memorized Scripture before you get to dark days in your life, God will bring those to mind as well, bringing you hope, giving you direction, reminding you of truth He’s spoken.

Meditate on the fact that God isn't wasteful. In His sovereignty, if He allows something to touch your life, He'll use it as you submit it to Him. The entire Word of God bears this out. He can and will bring good to pass, even out of seeming failures. Prov. 27:6 says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." If you believe, as I do, that God is your friend, then the wounds He allows have purpose, and that purpose is for good, according to Rom. 8:28. People may try and supply God's specific purposes and answers for you, but, many times, they're guessing just as you are. "For who has known the mind of the Lord?" Rom. 11:34 asks.

Examine what you really want from God -- Him or just His blessings. David wrote in Ps. 4:6 that God filled him with gladness more than when the corn and wine were flowing. He wrote this when he was fleeing for his life from his son Absalom. He really had a right to be miserable, but he said God made him glad. He obviously wanted God. Habbakuk wrote that even if the fig tree didn't blossom, the vine bore no fruit, the yield of the olive failed, the fields produced no food and the barns were empty, he would rejoice in God. He wrote it in the face of impending judgment for the sin of his nation, judgment which would bring him suffering, even in his faithfulness to God.

Days in the cave are perfect for coming to terms with the depth and viability of your relationship with God. Is He enough for you, even if there's nothing else?

Ask God to give you His perspective on things. That doesn't mean just answers. It means you want to see yourself, others and your situation through His eyes. He may not show you everything at once, but it's a real "eye-opener," so to speak, as you see His faithfulness, your own frailty and need of Him, and the folly of ever placing your dependency on anyone but Himself.

No matter how much your family and closest friends want to be there for you or how much solace they can and do afford, there'll come a time when they can't or won't be there, when they'll say or do something that seems insensitive or when God makes sure they "don't understand" or "let you down." You'll be disappointed in them and may have to deal with more hurt if you aren't looking through His eyes. We all fail, are all weak, are all nothing without Him, and that's true no matter how long you've walked with Him. He alone is perfect and faithful. He alone is able to promise He'll never leave you nor forsake you, and even in the darkness of the cave, when you can't see Him or sense Him, He is there.

Finally, realize that even when you do begin to gain some ground toward victory, the tough days might not simply end abruptly. They may decrease gradually -- a little light one morning, one afternoon, one evening. You may still not be able to see the end of them, but you can ask God to let your life honor Him that day and give you a measure of contentment. And God is faithful. A shared laugh with one of your children or friends, a beautiful sunset or a trusting, loving response from an animal, all let you know everything’s under God's control, and you’re on the road to appreciating life once again, however and whenever God allows it to be. . .in the cave, in the palace or anywhere in between. Healing is taking place.

This devotional was previously published by the author and is used by permission of the author.

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