This weekend. It was the best kind of weekend. Camping and fellowshipping. Swimming in sacred pools, jumping off rocks, and sliding down natural slides. Talking and laughing and getting caught in tropical rainstorms and eating plate lunches from roadside trucks. We drove home wet. And grimy. What we lacked in sleep, we made up for in memories.
As we packed up our small town of tents, our next door camping neighbors planned their adventure for the drive home. “Wai’anapanapa?” they asked. “Why notanota?” Josh replied.
When we arrived, we explored all that the gorgeous state park had to offer as Ciara pointed out her favorite childhood memories. We walked on the smooth black stones that eventually transformed into a black sand beach. We watched the stormy ocean push churning waves up into the lava rocks that created dramatic blow holes. And then we made our way down a trail toward the fresh water cave. Ciara jumped in first. Then Zachy went in with his floaty. Then Michael with his waterproof flashlight. Then me and Josh. And finally Mikaela. Michael led the way with Mikaela on his back, and we followed him into a small, very dark crevasse that opened up into a second cave. Sitting on a small rock ledge in deep fresh water, looking at an ordinarily pitch black pocket of beauty illuminated by one small flashlight is a forever-tucked-in-my-memory moment.
Our swimming group of six ventured back out into the main cave, and Mike motioned to Josh. There was one more. I followed the two of them as they disappeared into another crevasse – much smaller than the first. I hesitated for a few moments as they went in, wrestling with the anxiety that came with swimming through the hole in a rock barely larger than my head. For the second time that weekend, I pushed down nerves, and pushed off rocks, saying yes to adventure.
This morning, I sat down for my quiet time and vacillated between two ideas. I am in Ezekiel 20 in Search the Scriptures, and only got six verses in before one verse caught my eye. But I also wanted to re-read the verses on caves and mines that God has consistently repeated to me over the years. To revisit the idea of Treasures of Darkness. So I started with one. And quickly realized found the connected to the other. Of course they are connected.
I started my morning so thankful for our weekend. Counting my blessings by counting my joys. Before I even read one word, I thanked God for bringing us here. To this little island. And then, He started a conversation with me.
On that day I raised My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands.
Thank You LORD for bringing us here, I said.
I searched it out and handpicked it just for you, He whispered.
As I dug into the Hebrew, I found the same word for “search out” is also used in Ecclesiastes 1:13:
I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven.
And also in Ecclesiastes 8:16-17, which is a more cynical approach to wisdom. Because, ultimately, we will never know what God is doing. And that verse took me to Ecclesiastes 3:11:
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does beginning to end.
And I began to think.
Why do we allow ourselves to stop seeking out wisdom just because we don’t know the full story or see the full picture? Or because we’re fearful? Or aren’t sure of where to go next?
This weekend, I stood on a rock ledge at the seven sacred pools for a good ten minutes while the guys waited patiently in the pool below, gathering the courage to jump off and join them. If I didn’t jump into that particular pool, I would have missed the natural slides that followed. Yesterday, I hesitated at the mouth of a tiny opening in a rock wall. If I didn’t push through (and swim through), I would have missed the incredible beauty literally just around the corner. I imagine a large number of the tourists that visit that cave every day just swim around in the main pool, and don’t go any further simply because they don’t know what else is there. It goes against nature to swim into a black hole. I certainly wouldn’t have if we weren’t with the Woodards – and it was only because they had a flashlight.
There is so much power in seeking out wisdom. In trusting the people that have gone before us and know the lay of the land. The people that allow their light to illuminate our path so we can continue walking. The people that spur us on in the adventure because there is something that can’t be missed on the other side of the anxiety and unknown. It’s on the other side of the unknown that His glory lies. Just a little snippet of it. Illuminated by one single light of experience. Or nugget of truth. Or the simple understanding that He is good.
The depths of His wisdom cannot be fully grasped. But they can be explored as long as we stable the shaky legs and jump off the cliff. Or push aside the anxiety and deliberately swim into the darkness. His wisdom goes as far as our swimming legs can last, and yet further still – begging us to come back for more and not get too comfortable with what we already know.
Because there’s always yet more with Him. More glory. More grace. More holes in the wall. More pools to discover. It’s just a matter of how much we want of it.
Oh the depths of the riches of both the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and His ways past finding out!