Nearly a decade and a half later, I have little recollection of what it looked like in that cave in Budapest, though I do know what we saw bore absolutely no resemblance to these caves. That is Jeita Grotta in Lebanon, which looks like what we anticipated, and what I actually did get to see, in its splendid, colourful glory, just about six weeks later.
My primary remembrance, not surprisingly, is that of the darkness.
The darkness, and the gratitude that in the midst of all the uncertainty, God had blessed me someone to share that time with, and someone who appreciated the lessons and laughs and conversations that came out of our unexpected adventures that whole day, but especially our time spent in the darkness of the cave.
When we set off on our long planned and prayed for time of both ministry and fun that summer almost fifteen years ago, we never could have dreamed up all God had arranged for us to experience. From the direction God led me as I continued my journey around the world after our month and a half travelling together, to my best friend meeting (and falling in love with!) her now husband when we were serving in the Czech Republic, it was a summer that changed our lives in ways we never would have anticipated. It wasn’t fun and easy at every moment, but there was the gift of someone to ponder, process, and pray with.
But the darkness isn’t often like our time in the cave that day. Much of the time we face the darkness alone, with all that (or all those) we relied on no longer able to be depended upon. Instead, with an unsteady and faltering gait we continue on towards a goal now obscured as we move forward in faith, and only our Guide and Good Shepherd ever present to lead us onward.
Whether this stretch of the path has light for a distance down the road, or if blackness has crept in and it’s a struggle to find sufficient light to take the next step, God, my faithful Guide, is the One in whom I will place my hope.
Point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by YOUR truth and teach me,
for YOU are the GOD who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in YOU.
FATHER, sometimes the path does seem dark and full of confusion, but I know You are the Light who will guide my way. And You are my Great Shepherd who will tenderly lead me where You want me to go.
So Lord, teach my heart. Teach me Your ways and to know Your voice. Speak Your mind and words. Help me to be quick to listen and respond to You. And may I know Your voice above all other voices.