On one of our family trips to Hawaii, we found ourselves driving around the island on our way to go snorkeling when we saw two people appearing suddenly, as if they came straight out of the ground. Always curious, Mom told Dad, “Pull over. Let’s see what they’re doing.”
By the time we pulled over, the couple had gotten into their car and drove off. Curiosity still not satisfied, Mom walked around this barren field of lava rocks and stumbled upon the entrance to a lava tube! (A lava tube is a long, hollow opening where lava once flowed underground — like a volcanic eruption sprung a leak — and eventually cooled off and dissipated, leaving behind a long hollow cave.)
Mom motioned for us to come over and I feared she was off on an exploration. All I could do was start to worry, and very loudly too. “Mom, there are no signs here. I don’t think we’re supposed to go here. Mom, it’s not even marked; we don’t know if it’s safe.” She didn’t even reply to my concern, totally unfazed and confident. She just started climbing down the rocks into the cave.
“There’s light on the other side. It’s not that long; come on,” she said. I thought to myself, surely, she’ll turn back once it gets too dark inside the cave. That didn’t happen either. Dad followed her in without a second glance, and the only reason I went in after a few minutes of hemming and hawing was because I realized both of them left their cell phones in the car, and someone needed to be able to call for help if we got stuck.
I had absolutely zero enjoyment in that lava tube. I kept yelling, “Where are we going?” (as if any of us knew) and even when we got out, I continued to say, “Come on, let’s go back to the car.” Everything was irrational. At the last second, I turned around and had a “millennial” moment and snapped a quick picture of Mom and Dad climbing out of the hole.
We talked about that lava tube for months. And Mom’s constant reminder for the next few years, whenever we were debating whether or not to do something, always started off with a hearty, “Someone’s gotta go in the cave first!”
What a reminder that there are not only always two ways to look at any situation, but spiritually speaking, there are also two ways to trust God.
Proverbs 3:5-6 records, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” What that scripture doesn’t say is this: “Trust in the Lord for a little bit and see how He does, but rely more on your own understanding, and don’t worry about acknowledging him because His path might not be good for you.” It says trust the Lord unconditionally, to the forgetting of our own knowledge of how things should or shouldn’t be, and if we do that, He will guide us.
Mom had a great experience in that lava tube. Dad did too, and every time we reminisced about it, the memory would still spark some anxiety in me, and I would bemoan how scared I was! I felt no sense of achievement that I walked through a thousands-year-old lava tube cave. Mom and Dad would just smile and look at each other and have a chuckle. The same exact adventure had two totally different impacts.
There are always two ways to look at life. For example, a blizzard happened in New York City one year, and Mom and me had our plane delayed returning to California where Dad was. I called Dad and was so excited to share how much it was snowing and how cool it was to be in a blizzard. Five minutes later, Mom called Dad to complain about how much snow there was outside, how we were stuck, and how she couldn’t wait to come home. Same situation, totally different viewpoints.
Sometimes I feel like God is silently cheering us on, even when we are worried about life, because He knows how it’s going to end. Lose a job? God is up there cheering because He has a better job waiting for me, and that position just opened up this week. Or maybe you heard of someone from the early church who had an experience of running out of food for their family? While they panicked, I’m sure God was excited because He was able to touch someone’s heart to bring food to them that very day.
How we live our lives determines how we experience (or deny) the joy that God intends us to have. God wants to help us go full-steam ahead into an unknown adventure where He gets to lead and guide us because He has an amazingly blessed life waiting just ahead of us every day. We can struggle with fear and anxiety, always looking for the next thing to happen, always shrinking back from putting ourselves out there or from trusting the Lord, but that is not a life. God asks us to seek Him first, and all else will be given to us as He provides (Matt 6:27-34).
So don’t forget — someone’s gotta go in the cave first, following God! Head-first, without hesitation, fully knowing that God is still doing great things for those who love Him.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.
Amen. Great article Sister. Thank you for sharing.
Beautiful perspective, Erin. I would have reacted like you in the lava tube. Always looking for safety. Thanks for the paradigm to one of my favorite scriptures.
LOVE the story, your faith, your strength and your insight. Oh I forgot to say, and YOU! God bless you!
WOW! What an adventure. Forgive me but I am Team Mom. I would definitely investigate the cave AND complain about the snow……but I am from the Northeast. Snow is a nuisance.
With the craziness going on, definitely need to jump both feet in on faith during this crisis.