A couple of days ago I was sitting on a bus driving through the rain forests of Belize being coached on the dos and don’ts of cave tubing.
A couple of hours after that I was lost in the darkness of a world that has existed long before me. I was fully submerged in a cave that felt almost undiscovered. Belize isn’t America, so there were no lights or handrails or signposts to let you know the way. We were each given helmets with lights on them and those were the only dancing stars that cut through the black as we were pulled through the caves on inner tubes by our guides.
At one point we stopped and turned off the lights on our helmets and the darkest darkness you can imagine enveloped us. I tried to think about what it must have been like for the people who discovered those caves, with their flickering flames so fragile and critical if they wanted to ever see day again.
Light is amazing.
It was so dark in the caves that a single light on a headlight could illuminate a whole ‘room’. Our lights could stretch to the ceiling of the cave (over 50 feet away) and light up rock formations glittering with crystals.
I had some neat thoughts in that cave.
I’ve written before about how scared I am of pretending to spend my life for God’s glory but secretly really spending it for my own. I’m always nervous about pursuing the things I think I’m made to do because I’m nervous that I’ll make it all about me and steal attention for myself.
And in the dark of the caves I finally realized, I’m kind of dumb.
There is no way a light on the tip of a helmet can steal glory from the grandeur of the cave.
None of us spent our time staring at the lights. We wanted to gaze at the beauty that the lights were uncovering for us.
We did talk about the lights because we were thankful for their functionality. But the way we talked about them was very different from the way we talked about the glittering crystals forming on the walls or the stunning stallagtites and stalagmites.
I have been praying for months for God to help me understand the call He has on my life and there, in the darkness of the cave, it felt a little easier to see.
Without light, the eight of us could have sat just meters away from the most beautiful sights in the world and we would have had no idea. The lights were precious to us, but they weren’t distracting. They were functional.
I was in the cave with my pal Ashley. My light was a little stronger than hers, so I kept shining it on stuff for her and saying ‘hey Ashley! Look at that baby fruit bat! Look at that crystal waterfall!!’ But never once did it cross my mind to say: ‘Hey Ashley! look at my light! It’s so bright! Just stare at it!’
The lights didn’t compete with the glory of the caves and they didn’t add to the glory of the caves. The lights revealed the glory of the caves.
I cannot compete with the glory of God. If I hold up His glory for the world to see, people won’t be confused about where they should be looking.
The glory of God is all around us – all of us – all the time. We get to be a part of shining and pointing it out to people.
It’s not an original idea. It was Jesus’ idea way back in the day. He told His followers that they were made to be lights so that the world would see God more clearly and worship Him. He said that if we were hiding our lights then we were like salt that wasn’t salty: useless.
Today I’m going to throw off the sin and doubt and fear that dims and hides my light and let it shine like crazy.
I think I’ll know if it’s shining. I think if I let the light of God shine out of me then no one around me will be looking at me. We’ll all have our heads tossed back like kids discovering a cave; we’ll be pointing out to one another great and amazing parts of our magnificent Maker.