By Pastor Anthony Scott
Few things in life are worse than being in trouble and entirely alone. Yet when life goes wrong, turns sour, or we are in a serious predicament, we almost always it seems have to go through it alone. Maybe this was the experience of our ancestors who sang, ‘Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, nobody knows my sorrow.’
Alexander Maclaren wrote, “The soul that has to wade through deep waters has always to do it alone, for no human sympathy reaches to full knowledge of, or shares in, even the best loved one’s grief. We have companions in joy; sorrow we have to face ourselves.” Still speaking of the dark side of things but pointing upward to our hope, Maclaren adds “Unless we have Jesus with us in the darkness, we have no one.”
In Psalm 142, David finds himself alone in a cave and hiding. He has fled the fury of Saul and by his own description retreats to a lonely prison. David, having strangled a lion, defeated Goliath, overcome two-hundred Philistines, now wrestles with his own needless fear. In isolation, David pours out his heart to God in a distressing and urgent plea. He literally cries out from his heart and gives voice to his plight. While his faith is at full stretch, he experiences God’s presence in the cave. Faith and hope are now linked together and his faith that was at full stretch alone, now with a new perspective is stretched into the future.
This perspective helped give him confidence in God despite his circumstances. In solitude, faith sees what is invisible to the physical senses and that is that God is our everlasting portion. Faith showed David that God was his refuge and place of perfect safety. God was his portion meaning provider. God was his savior or rescuer and ultimately would be his liberator, the one to set him free.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon observed that, “David prayed when he was in the cave and that caves have heard the best prayers.” Caves are effective classrooms in the school of faith and prayer. If your troubles do not lead you to go deeper in faith and prayer, you’re missing the lesson of the cave. Let your loneliness, gloom, and despair make you cry out to the Lord to bring your soul out of prison, so that you may give thanks to His name! The Lord knows you’re there. Let the cave hear your best prayers!