When you’re in a dark place, what’s left to do but cry out? When the path outside is booby trapped by the enemy, when no one takes notice, when no one cares for your soul, what’s left but to plead for mercy? When your spirit is faint, all that’s left is to pour out your complaint and tell your trouble to the One who knows your way. At least that’s how David responded to his cave time in Psalm 142 (v. 1-4).
I cry to You, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to Your name!
(Psalm 142:-5-7a ESV)
Seems to me you’re only going to cry to the LORD in desperate situations if you believe certain things about the LORD. That He really is your refuge, an ever present shelter whenever a shelter is needed. That He, in fact, is sufficient to be your portion — that when you apparently have no ground of your own on which to plant your feet and stand firm, He is that tract, He is that foundation, He is your share.
You’re not gonna cry out if you don’t believe God will attend to your cry. You’re not gonna speak into the air unless you’re confident He’s the one who “sees in secret” (Mt. 6:6). You’re not gonna ask for deliverance if He’s not truly a Deliver. Not gonna ask to be busted out of prison if He’s not mighty enough to deal with your chains.
Cave time is test the faith time. Dark places, and desperate places, are determine if you really believe what you say you believe places. Tenuous circumstances have a way of testing whether or not we’re trusting in the LORD with all our hearts and leaning not to our own understanding (Prov. 3:5-6).
Where you gonna go when there’s no place else to go? Cave time’s gonna reveal that.
No one likes hanging out in a cave. No one likes being alone. No one likes being at the end of their own resources. But to the degree it brings us to the end of ourselves it can be a profitable experience if it reboots, or rekindles, or re-energizes our determination to trust in Him.
The righteous will surround me, for You will deal bountifully with me.
(Psalm 142:-7b ESV)
David cried out confident that the cave was transitory. The solitude temporary. The suffering, in the larger scheme of things, momentary and “not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).
The righteous will surround us when we “stand before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes” (Rev.7:9).
He will deal bountifully with us because He has already dealt bountifully with us. Having not spared His own Son but giving Him up for us, how will God “not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32)
Nobody wants to do cave time. But we can benefit from cave time when we allow Him to use it as draw us near to God time.
And that, only by His grace. And that, always for His glory.