When I was about 6 or 7 years old our family took a trip to Hannibal, Missouri. My mom, dad, sister, aunt, uncle, two cousins and I all piled in a car and off we went to see the home of Mark Twain. We walked up and down the streets where Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn played. We saw where Mark Twain lived and grew up. It was a great adventure and one I will probably never forget. Unfortunately, the reason why I will never forget has nothing to do with Mark Twain or Tom or Huck.
|Mark Twain Cave|
On our trip we also took a day to explore the caves that are nestled around this fascinating city. Sitting on top of my teenage cousin’s shoulders, down we went into this large cave. Deeper and deeper we went into the cold, damp, dimly lit tunnels under the earth’s surface. Our guide talked to us about the stalactites and stalagmites, the glittering fool’s gold that peaked out at places along the crevices, all the while taking us deeper and deeper into the mouth of the cave. Eventually we reached the center of the cave. This was a large area that the whole tour group could fit into and it had high ceilings. I didn’t have to crouch down; I could sit up on my cousin’s shoulders now. But, perched at the very top of the cave were bats. Now, if you know me you know that from a very young age I have been terrified of birds, bats, anything that flies. (That is another story all on its own as to why I am so terrified of flying creatures, and I won’t humor you with that today!) Now, when I say terrified, let me explain that hyperventilating, ghostly white face and trembling seizures are just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to flying creatures and me. To look up and see bats above me, almost touching my head was too much to bear, and it could not have gotten any worse, or so I thought.
In the midst of the guide telling us about the rare bats that were above us, out of nowhere the lights went out. What little light was used to mark our paths down into the caves was gone. I was in utter and complete panic. Fear took over every single part of my being and somehow I managed to let out a scream so shrill that it caused the guide to turn the lights back on. He thought it would be a good idea to turn the lights off. He soon learned that it was a terrible idea! Thankfully, as soon as the lights came back on my fear vanished with the darkness. I could breathe again. Needless to say my poor cousin was bleeding from where I had dug my fingernails into his head, but otherwise, we all escaped unharmed, and made our way out of the cave. But, I will never forget that moment for aslong as I live. It was the light that dispelled the darkness, and in the end, there was nothing to fear after all.
These past few weeks have felt like those cold, damp caves again. The farther I walk the deeper and deeper these caves of life get. But the only way out is to keep on going. I have no idea what is going to happen next, let alone what to expect. But I do know that the fear that tries to overwhelm me is nothing when the light comes on.
This morning as I was thinking about all that I hope for in regards to our business and all that we need to do, I kept thinking about this experience in the caves. As I was reliving this horrible time, I had a glimpse of faith, like a flashlight in the depths of darkness, faith dispels the fear and guides us out to the other side. Faith is our light switch when darkness tries to overtake us. It is by faith that we seek God; it is by faith that we are able to grab a hold of His promises, and it is by faith that all our fears are chased away with just one flick of a switch.
I don’t fully understand faith, or maybe I make it harder than it really is. But what I am learning as I walk these next steps on my journey is that faith is all I need. I don’t need a guide, I need faith. I don’t need someone to carry me on their shoulders, I need faith. The Bible tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV) Right now my hopes are in a building that is just now being drawn up on paper. My hopes are in a dream, a vision that started me on this journey. But faith is not just some hopeful desire or dream. It is a reality. Faith brings to light all the possibilities of life, not because we are able to do them, but because God is able to do them.
When Jesus said, “with God all things are possible” (Mark 19:26) I believed Him. Because I have seen my God create something out of nothing. I have seen miracles happen, prayers answered and lives restored, renewed and resurrected. I know that my God is able to do above all that I ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20) I may not have all the answers, and believe me when I say that I have no idea how God is going to make this building happen, but I have faith and confidence that He will. Maybe I have the gift of faith, or maybe I just know how powerful and mighty my God is.
I have confidence in the Character and the Person of my God, because I know my God. All my hopes and dreams are not dependant on me or my worthiness. They are dependent on His worthiness, and He is God. Faith does not just believe, but it is confident that no matter who turns the lights out, He still has His hand on the switch. No darkness, no trial, no storm, no worldly set back can keep up in the dark because our God is not only in control of the light, He is the Light. It may seem like a long dark cave, but we can be confident that no matter what, that light we see is Him, and He will carry us all the way to the end.
Faith is being confident in the One who promised us. Let us not waver, no matter how dark our caves may get, let us not waver but be confident that our God is able to do all He has promised each and every one of us. We have nothing to fear. Our God is the light. Amen.