I’ve realized that Jeff has helped prepare me for bed rest throughout our marriage. At this point it really seems like a mental game: how to stay sane, how to not worry, how to keep my mind on good things. Several of our vacations have required similar mental perseverance.
Mammoth Cave is the largest cave system in the world and it’s located in Kentucky. We planned a trip to Mammoth to celebrate our first anniversary. Parts of the cave are huge! Large enough that they used to have church down there and weddings for hundreds of guests. Most tours are casual walk through parts of the cave where you learn the history. But one tour really caught Jeff’s eye:
Wild Cave Tour
Beautiful, yet physically demanding
6 hours, only 14 participants
We put on our hiking boots, old clothes to throw away after crawling through dirt, and we were on our way. At the introduction the guide said if you aren’t comfortable crawling through the small lid of a garbage can, this isn’t for you. Who is comfortable crawling through that, I wondered. But at least I was the smallest person on the trip. If all of these men fit through then I’ll fit too.
I wouldn’t consider myself claustrophobic, but when you are laying on your stomach, can only see the boots of the person in front of you, have rock walls touching all your sides and you’re hundreds of feet under ground, you start to reconsider claustrophobia. The guide yells back our next move, “Next we’ll be going through Hell Hole. It’s about 40 yards of crawling on your stomach over rough jagged rocks.” Did I voluntarily sign up for this?
“Isn’t this cool?!” Jeff exclaims, grinning from ear to ear. “It’s great,” I respond straight faced. If you say it enough maybe it’ll start to be true, right? Many times I had breakdowns in my head and gave myself pep talks, especially when I had to crawl past a large spider and the space didn’t look big enough for both of us.
Six hours later we were walking upright towards the finish line. Though the end was in sight, I was regretting it. “Lord, I didn’t want to just make it through and survive this. I wanted to enjoy Your creation and treasure this time since most people never see these parts of the cave,” I silently prayed. I heard God say to me, “Just like there is so much more to discover about this cave, you have so much more to discover about Me.”
God wasn’t saying I didn’t know Him, but that there is always more to learn and grow. Almost every part of me wants this time of bed rest to fly by. But I know God is telling me to surrender, yield to Him, and treasure this time of waiting.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4