My dad, husband and I drove to Carlsbad Caverns yesterday. They had both visited before I, however, had not. They were excited for me to see the Caverns and so was I. It was not without certain reservations on my part though! I am not too much on being in tight, dark, dank, musty places! Just sayin! I kept asking key questions that I thought were pertinent to my survival. It went something like this:
How big are these caverns?"
How narrow are the tightest places we have to walk through?
Is it well lit down there?
What happens if the lights go out?
How long will we be down there?
How hard is it to get down in there?
How hard is it to get back out of there?
Is it cold down there? Is it hot down there?
And of course the very important, How should I dress and are there restrooms down there?
Now don't let the barrage of extremely important queries fool you into thinking I am needy, high maintenance or anything like that! Maybe I am just very inquisitive?!! I just wanted to cover all angles and situations that might arise while down in the deep unknown. I needed to prepare for whatever might come in this slightly unnerving adventure or at the least, know what I needed to have in my purse and pockets that might save the day! Just the kind of girl I am and how my brain operates! When I go on a trip of any kind it looks like I am immigrating to Australia, so I am told....lies, all hateful lies propagated by family and friends!
Daddy and hubby assure me that it is a concrete, smooth walkway down to the entrance. The caverns are very open, no tight places to the "Big Room" that we would be visiting. Everything is well lit and we had flashlights and cell phones on the off chance of 1 in a million that there would be a cosmic event that would cause the lights to go out in the caverns. It would take us a couple of hours, surely I can manage 2 hours?! Oh and my favorite, we would ride an elevator down and back up because my dad recently had knee replacement surgery. I was content to let it be my excuse for not having to do all of that "unnecessary" walking and climbing! O Happy day!
Well okay, I finally had all my questions answered to my cautious satisfaction and I decide that I am a "mighty woman of faith" and I can do this thing. Bring it on! Caverns here I come!
After the long drive, we arrive and lo and behold, the elevator is out of service! Oh no, this can't be. Thankfully my dad said that there was no way he could do all that walking. I quickly agreed with his assessment. My husband and I could not go off and leave him for 2 hours now could we? So, we decided to watch the 15 minute documentary of the history of the caverns and then check out the gift shop before heading out.
After watching the movie, I was disappointed we could not go see it in person even though it still looked a little scary and treacherous. I don't pretend to understand or be able to adequately articulate the science of how the caverns were formed so I am not even going to try. Science was never a strong suit of mine anyway.
It was mind-boggling to think that all of that magnificence was way below the surface. Everything above ground was life as usual while nestled underneath was a realm of unspeakable wonders. So easy to drive by and not even know it existed. Existed it has for many, many years, no one knows for sure how long it has been forming. It is still to this day, changing and being sculpted into a natural showcase of splendor. There are still new passage ways being discovered. It was sensory overload and this is just from me seeing a very low budget 15 minute documentary of it on a flat screen. Even that was spectacular to behold. I could only enjoy it though through someone else's eyes and experience because I had not personally been to that deep cavern.
Don't think that I have not been to some deep dark places though, because I most definitely have. It was when I was abused and abandoned as a child, when depression, rejection, low self-esteem and unspeakable fear gripped me. It was in the anguish of raising children, seeing their pain and hurting more than they did. It was when I was wading through the flood tide of marital heartache, it was the times of the lack of money to take care of the necessities. It was when disappointment replaced my dreams and grief overtook my joy. Yes, I have been there. I have been in the deep, dark, hidden places of life. As I invited my Creator into those empty caverns created by my acidic tears, I experienced His glory in my story. I would rather experience the beauty of God rather than draw back in fear, never going deep, just being content to stay on the surface and be an observer of someone else's experience. The acidic rain in Carlsbad Caverns can be seen as either eroding limestone or masterfully forming the gorgeous soda straws, large stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies, flowstone, cave pearls, lily pads, popcorn, helictites and aragonites that delight the visitors day after day. What is your perception of your tears? Can you see beyond the pain and the circumstances to the hand of God working in the midst of it? Can you see the Kingdom of God in your life? I will readily admit sometimes it is harder to see than others. Know this, what was meant to destroy you by hand of the enemy can be turned for your good if it is yielded to the Lord. You can be an awe-inspiring display of His grace, mercy and faithfulness. All things are possible with God! Through His power the victim becomes the Victor and the broken hearted is healed.
There is a beauty being formed in the deep hidden places of life. A place where acidic tears are falling, eroding the long standing hardened areas of past pain while sculpting and forming love, hope, joy, strength and character. A process of revelation of who God is and His unfailing love, exploring the many facets of His power and Kingdom begins in this place. Hidden beneath the surface of who you are, the Holy Spirit is hovering and brooding over the chaotic formless mess as He did in the beginning in Genesis chapter 1. There is a masterful flurry of construction, renovation, fortifying and creativity happening right now in accordance with the heavenly blueprints for your life. He has plans for a future and a hope for you, it is promised in Jeremiah 29:11. Don't forget to look for the beauty in the deep places because it is most assuredly there!