Hope in the Hidden

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Hidden 15 stories underneath a rural New York State farm, is an incredible network of limestone caves. Lester Howe discovered this natural wonder when his cow chose to cool herself near a rock formation on his property each day instead of in the shade of the many trees on his farm. He found that she chose this spot because of the earth's "air conditioning" rising from the caverns below. 

Our family enjoyed a 90 minute tour of Howe Caverns this past summer. It was hard to pick our favorite part. We walked on brick pathways from the 1920's when Mr. Howe first opened the cave to visitors. We marveled at the stalagmites and stalactites still forming on the ceilings and floors of the massive cave. Unfortunately, we forgot our jackets which would have been helpful in the constant 52 degrees below ground. We even completed part of the tour by boat and thankfully experienced no bat sightings. 

One thought kept nagging at me for the rest of the afternoon. What if that cow hadn't found the coolest spot in the field? How many people had walked across those fields in centuries past never knowing anything more than dirt and rock existed beneath the grass? How long would the Howe family have farmed that land never knowing that miles of caverns lay beneath? What if there is a cave under my own backyard and I never know it? 

Truthfully, natural wonders aren't the only thing hidden from our human perception. What new medical issue lies around the corner? Will I get that job? Does he really love me? Will my child be safe? We walk through the fields of life never fully knowing what lies beneath us.  There has to be some confidence and strength for us to cling to in these unknown places. Otherwise, we would find ourselves hopelessly wandering in fear in all of life's new seasons and unexpected twists and turns. 

Thankfully, there is One who knows no unknowns. 

"My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth." [Psalm 139:15] 

I love that the Psalmist uses the phrase "in the depths of the earth" here to illustrate darkness and mystery. Science and medicine can explain many of the details of pregnancy, but so much of it remains unknown. How do cells become a fully formed baby? How does a tiny heart begin its steady beat? How does the forming brain instruct the minuscule bones to grow and muscles to flex? It's incredible and only our God knows. Nothing is hidden from his all-knowing, ever-watching gaze. 

Our mother's pregnancy is just the beginning, though. That same caring eye sees ahead and underneath each of our steps. He goes before us and is never surprised or confused by the newest trial we face. Caverns of despair, mountaintops of joy, endless fields of monotonous life may come as surprises for us, but not for God. Have strength, friend, in your current circumstances knowing that your confidence isn't grounded in knowing all the answers, but in the all-seeing eyes of your Father. 

On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.