Having recently visited the Holy Land for the first time, I was struck by its harsh, inhospitable vistas. It’s high precipices are jagged, its land is parched, its environment hostile and its landscape pockmarked with crevices and caves. I now better understand the importance of the Bible’s references to the ‘wilderness’.
It’s the caves that especially intrigued me. Although in Scripture they often provided temporary sanctuary from danger and protection in times of distress, they’re anything but welcoming. Caves are void of light, save for their exits. Their low ceilings and rocky floors are challenging to navigate and you often need to stoop to enter. They also attract all sorts of unfriendly wildlife. The one I visited housed a swarm of bees!
In 1Kings 19, Elijah escaped to a cave when threatened by Jezebel. When the Lord asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”, Elijah boasted of his zeal for the Lord and pitied himself as being the only Israelite not to have rejected Him.
I too, sometimes escape to a ‘cave’ when my environment becomes hostile, when I feel threatened, anxious or fearful … when I’m in the wilderness. I often withdraw when I feel misunderstood, unappreciated, confused. I then sit in that cave and dwell on the problem, trying endlessly to figure out where to go from there. I pity myself, rehearse the hurts, even strike back in the caverns of my mind.
Then I hear a still, small voice say, “What are you doing here, Kathi?… Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
His voice reminds me:
He is my refuge and strength.
He offers comfort to my soul.
He has the answers to my queries.
He reveals the way I should go.
He IS the Way, the Truth and the Light.
Why would I ever run to a cave?
The reason God is all this to me - to all who believe - is because He sent His Son, Jesus to this very land to die for us. And although He was buried in one, the cave could not hold Him. After three days, He arose, stood up and broke out. The only thing left in the cave is our buried sin.
Alleluia! Thanks be to God!
He is our hiding place. Let’s run to Him.
- Kathi Fritz