May 2 2012

Rock of Ages

In Psalm 139 you find these words: “Thou has enclosed me behind and before, and laid Thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.  If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Thy hand will lead me, and Thy right hand will lay hold of me.  If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to Thee, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to Thee.” (vs. 5-12)

I thought of these words yesterday as I walked through Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. It was my first visit to this famous cave and I have to admit I was very impressed. Both the size and beauty of Carlsbad Caverns is awe-inspiring. I constantly found myself amazed by the work of the Creator’s hand. I also found myself sensing His presence. Far below the earth’s surface I realized that what the Psalmist wrote about long ago is true; there is nowhere you can go to escape God’s presence.  His love and grace follow us wherever we go.  I concur with the Psalmist, “such knowledge is too wonderful to me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it.”

One of the things that crossed my mind while touring the cave was that all of this beauty existed long before any human being entered it. I cannot believe that it was made beautiful eons ago just so humans could one day enjoy looking at it. I am more inclined to believe that God Himself delights in beauty and, as I have written about recently, He created it for Himself.

Each day when the tourists leave the caverns the lights are all turned off. It is so dark you could not see your hand if you placed it in front of your face. That is the cave’s natural state. Without the artificial light’s illumination no one can enjoy the cave’s beauty, no one but God that is. The Psalmist declared that “darkness and light are alike” to God.  He can, and I am confident does, enjoy His handiwork without any light whatsoever. When I ponder these things I cannot help but offer praise and adoration to my God and Savior.

Towards the end of the tour we came upon a formation with the name “Rock of Ages.” I couldn’t help but think how appropriate it was that someone named such a glorious formation this. I hope those who see it will make the connection to the hymn of the same title. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ truly is the Rock of Ages and for that I am eternally grateful.

-Chuck

(I took these images yesterday at Carlsbad Caverns.  The bottom image shows the formation, “Rock of Ages.”)