The week that I went to Puerto Rico, I didn’t really know what to expect. It was my first time traveling alone but I took the opportunity to ask for The Lord’s guidance as I embarked on the journey He prepared for me. The day my aunt took me to The Cave Window in Arecibo, we heard from an outside source that it would be extremely muddy and the trail would be hard to walk on. However, thankfully, when we got to the cave site, the ground was dry. The first guide welcomed us and in preparation to enter the caves he warned our group about all the creepy crawlers we’d encounter once we’d enter. We were to expect hundreds of cockroaches, a few scorpions, maybe some snakes and of course bats. I could only imagine at this point the things I’d encounter, so I released a quick prayer for the Lord’s guidance and protection from anything that would harm us.
Then our hike began. To get to the mouth of the first cave we needed to descend down a rocky slope. The only thing to keep us from slipping was a rope attatched to the rocks, but there was another guide at the bottom of those rocky steps, holding out his hand, ready to help us affirm our final step. We were each presented with a lantern, and instructed to follow the guides into the dark abyss. As we shined the lights at our feet, I remembered Psalm 119:105 which says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” I imagined how this truth came to life before me as each step was illuminated. We walked a good distance until at one point the guides told us to turn off our lanterns. You can imagine our reluctance to do so, but we trusted our guides. I thought to myself “Ok, they’ve done this before.” And I recalled Jesus as my personal guide who leads me in Psalm 23. When we turned off our lights, they shined a red light above to show us all the bats huddled together in the damp cavern. I learned that day that bats aren’t blind but they are in fact extremely sensitive to bright lights. They frantically disperse at the presence of it, wildly bumping into anything and everything in their way. This made me think of how demons flee at the presence of Jesus when his light comes in exposing their evil deeds in this dark world. We were then instructed to turn our lights back on and we all became a human chain as we linked hands following the guides, on that unsteady ground. While we continued, I prayed for strength in our feet that neither me or my aunt would slip, because that day I was wearing sandals and my spunky aunt has a limp. But then Habakkuk 3:19 came to my memory which says, “the Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” So I proceeded the trail with confidence. At this point we came to a tight opening where we had to duck under an opening above our heads in order to pass through. And when I passed through that small opening, I looked up and was immediately taken aback at the welcoming light that flooded my eyes. I stood up near the cave’s window and could see a picturesque landscape that took my breath away! At thousands of feet above, it was as if I could reach out and touch this natural painting, but the impressive descent below reminded me of my mortality. I saw God as I looked out. I saw the magnificence of his hands. I saw everything that He ever promised to give me and I remembered Jeremiah 29:11. I was so absorbed in this moment that I didn’t realize when my aunt came up behind me to share this moment with me. And in four little words she summed up life’s hard journey when she whispered, “Wow, it was all worth it…”
I’m still amazed as I remember that day. The day I stared the promise right in the face. When I left Puerto Rico, I came back down into the valley, finding myself sitting in the cave that is my bedroom. But I find refuge in these words when I remember what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:12-14
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
I will not let the darkness around me make me forget all that God promised me in the light. I have too often been astounded by his faithfulness to know that HE WILL bring me to it.
This my friends is my journey– my way back home to eternity with my Savior, Christ Jesus. 💃❤👑