My cousin, Brian, wasn’t always the smart, responsible man he is today. During his freshman year of college, he played the stupid teenager card very well. One weekday, he and his friend, Jason, decided to ditch class and go exploring in a local cave – mistake number one. They packed a backpack with a few snacks and two mini flashlights but no extra batteries — mistake number two and the most dangerous one.
The first few hours were exciting and carefree while following the winding paths deep into the belly of the cave. Here, they were able to sign the yellowed guest book to prove they made it to the end. They ate their snacks and began working their way back to the cave entrance only to have one of the flashlight’s batteries quickly die. Hiking at this point became more tedious while trying to navigate the black and narrow trails with only one slight glow of light between the two of them. Within half an hour, the other flashlight’s batteries died as well. Brian and Jason were now alone a few miles underground in a cave in total and suffocating darkness. After a few moments of understandable panic, they decided they could still keep moving by relying only on their sense of touch.
Each foot placement was done so deliberately, directed by the sheer fear of not knowing what was truly ahead of them. Their progress was slowed to a snail’s pace and then completely halted when Brian was caught unaware by a large drop in the path. Brian would have been injured or killed had a carabiner on his backpack not caught on a tiny piece of rock jutting out from the cliff’s edge. Brian and Jason now felt the full weight of their very precarious situation. They knew they could no longer continue picking their way through the cave without anything to light the path before them. They concluded it was time to stop, pray and wait for a source of light to lead them out of the darkness. They knelt together on the cold rock and offered a sincere and desperate prayer pleading for help.
It was difficult to measure time. What felt like eons later, they began to hear voices and eventually saw a welcome beam of light ahead that dissipated the paralyzing darkness. With this new source of light, Brian and Jason were able to safely make their way out of the cave.
Darkness can seep into our lives in a number of ways. Sometimes we create our own darkness by making choices that push out the light. Sometimes the darkness invades when others make those choices, and they affect us too. More often than not, though, financial struggles, health problems, mental health problems, conflicts with family or friends, etc., are out of our control.
Regardless of the origin of our darkness, we need to first choose to stop blindly stumbling along without a source of light. We cannot rely solely on ourselves to get out of the cave of darkness we are experiencing. We need to choose to turn to another origin for help. God loves us and won’t abandon us if we turn to Him. When the apostle, Peter, answered God’s call and attempted to walk on the waves of the Sea of Galilee, he began to feel darkness close around him, and he allowed himself to doubt. Peter quickly recognized his dire situation and called out to God for help. He did not question God’s power to save him, he simply called out, “Lord, save me.”
Just as Peter did, we need to stop and ask for help. Just as Brian and Jason stopped stumbling around in darkness and knelt to pray, so must we acknowledge our need for help from a higher being. James 8: 12 teaches us God is “the light of the world; he that followeth [Him] shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
If we actively choose to turn to God, the light will come. It may be a quick change like turning on a light switch, but it is more likely a slow brightening like a sunrise. Our struggles may not completely disappear, but we can safely continue on the winding paths ahead with this dependable source of light. God will always be there with the extra batteries.
Christina Hancey and her husband, Scott, are parents to three crazy boys and one angel daughter watching all of the chaos from above. Christina enjoys exploring Alaska’s natural beauty with her family on foot, on bikes, on a boat or in a raft. If she isn’t playing chauffeur, cook, housecleaner or many other roles for her boys, you can usually find her at the gym. Christina is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.