To shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:79
As a youngster I was an avid spelunker. It was an exciting sport that never failed to get my adrenalin pumping and heighten awareness of my frailty. For every time I climbed into a damp cavern and started worming my way into the bowels of the earth I had to fight against my feelings of claustrophobia. My heart would speed up, I would begin to sweat profusely, and a battle would rage in my mind as I pitted my intellect against my emotions.
As strange as it may seem, I was attracted to spelunking because it brought me face to face with my fear. It was the closest thing that I’d ever had to a near death experience. For whenever I was wriggling through a narrow hole or inching along on my stomach in a restricted passageway, I was being challenged to deal with the possibility of a panic attack; to take a test and see if I could succeed beyond the limits of my capacity to endure; to realize that if I became wedged between the rocks, they could easily become my coffin!
Since my days as a youngster I’ve learnt that life is very much like spelunking. Every one of us has to face the constricting circumstances of sickness, grief, uncertain futures and difficult relationships. Sometimes these challenges become so tough and life so precarious, it’s like being wedged between a rock and a hard place. It’s akin to worming through a long tunnel. It’s similar to the blinding darkness experienced in the depths of a cave. Yes, the confinement of pain and suffering often brings us face to face with our fears. It stirs up panic and calls on our capacity to endure.
So how can we deal with the challenges of life and succeed? How can we face our fears and not give up? And how can we keep moving forward when it feels like the walls are pressing in and squeezing us to death?
The only way through is to have a guide; to have someone who knows how to navigate the labyrinth of dark passageways that we encounter in life; and to have someone who can help us get through and reach the other side.
That someone is Jesus Christ. He is the only One who knows the way. He is the only One who sees everything despite the darkness. And He is the only One who can lead us through the tunnels of depression, dejection, and despair.
As the Bible says; He will “shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death.” He will “guide our feet into the path of peace” Luke 1:79. For “He who has compassion on them will guide them” Isaiah 49:10. Yes, “the Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs …” Isaiah 58:11. So trust in Him today. For when you’re confined by fear you can only be freed by faith – a faith in the Guide who knows the way and will help you reach the light of day.