Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dark Cave

Dark Cave
Jan 20, 2014
Jonah 2:1  "From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God."

Little needs re-told of the story about Jonah and the big fish that swallowed him.  Jonah was asked by the Lord to preach an amazing message to a people who really needed it.  Jonah refused and ended up in the belly of a whale somewhere deep in the ocean.  Surely, the moment Jonah was crying out to the Lord from the bowels of that fish, he was considering how wrong the situation felt.  Jonah probably wondered how he was so close to the Lord at one point in his life but ended up so far from his imagined potential.  He probably regretted all his mistakes, evaluated his current place inside the fish, and recounted how he got it so wrong in life.  The scenario was far from perfect and through mistakes of his own, the situation was messed up.  His reflections in that dark cave were an opportunity for advancement.

An opposing story to Jonah's is the one about the beloved of Jesus, John.  John was one of the Lord's closest friends while on this earth.  John was devoted to serving the Lord his entire life, and never refused an assignment to preach what the Lord desired.  He was the only apostle to have lived to an old age and he preached the Word until his dying day.  But John's life was far from perfect.  John was arrested for preaching the good news and sent to a political prison, abandoned on the isle of Patmos.  At approximately the age of 90, John was sleeping on the cold hard ground of a cave, deep within the belly of a mountainside.  Surely he had days of wondering how he could have ended up in such a dank, dark place.  He was probably wondering what went wrong, how his situation could feel so messed up despite working hard to do the right thing.  John made good decisions but they still led him into a dark cave.

If you know the rest of the details about John, you know it was in that deep dark cave where the Lord disclosed to him the visions and words found in the book of Revelation.  That dark cave was exactly right where the Lord wanted him.  John's situation may have seemed messed up, far from perfect, but it was clearly what the Lord had in mind.  John's life was not quite as opposite from Jonah's as you might think.  The only difference from John is the fact that Jonah had one moment of disobedience.  Other than that, both men were critical in conveying an important message from the Lord.  Both ended up in a dark cave as a result of their own actions, and both men were right where the Lord wanted them when it was critical.

The Lord used the moments in the dank, dark caves of these men's lives to advance the next step for each of them.  Jonah's cave was intended to set him back on the right course.  John's cave was to bring him to seclusion so he could pen the book of Revelation.  The caves were strategic, despite how the men got there.  The Lord used the caves to work perfection for His master plan.  The caves both felt wrong as far as we might perceive, but they were designed by the Lord to further His plan.  In Scripture, caves were symbolic of hiding places or burial places, but not a place of honor or a place you were meant to stay.

You, too, may experience a dark cave in your life as a result of your own actions.  Maybe you made good decisions your whole life like John, or took a wrong turn like Jonah.  Despite the dark cave, it is an opportunity for advancement, to experience the next part of the Lord's plan for your life.  In fact, if you read all the Scriptures, you'll find most heroes in the Bible spent times in dark caves: Gideon, Elijah, David, Jeremiah, Daniel, Peter, Paul....even Jesus.  Don't dwell on the time in the cave, figure out why you're there and move forward with the Lord's plan for your life.  It is never the Lord's intent for you to stay there.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Gen 49:29, Josh 10:16-28, Judges 6:2, 1 Sam 24:3, 1 Kings 18:4-13, Ps 142:1-3, Jonah 1, Mark 15:46, John 11:38, Rev 1:9-11

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