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First Step

Posted by Andrea Bailey on

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to serve for three weeks at a Christian summer camp for orphans in the Ukraine. This camp was right by a river and mountain, and in the side of the mountain was the Sviatohirsk Cave Monastery. While we were there, we were able to tour the monastery, which was one of the most amazing experiences of the trip.

The entrance was an unassuming cave in the side of the mountain. Once you stepped into the cave, you were thrust into utter darkness. The guide led us through a series of completely black tunnels that were just big enough to walk through one by one, while trailing your hands on either side of the tunnel. The path gradually took you higher and higher inside the mountain. This was a way to keep out intruders because, without a guide, it would be very difficult to find your way to the top.

Once a safe distance from the entrance, each person was given a candle made by the monks, and then asked to light the candle of the person behind us. When we all finally reached the top of the mountain, the guide talked about how many people had sought refuge there since the 15th century. Many walked miles and miles into the Holy Mountains to escape persecution. The Lord, our God, has placed a need for him so strong, that people would travel any distance to live in a place where they could worship without oppression.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
— Ecclesiates 3:11

I love this verse. Just as David Griffin pointed out in his sermon on Sunday, it shows us that God has put a desire for him in our hearts. He wants us to find him, to chase him, to love him. God wants us to choose to be in relationship with him.

God wants to be in our lives because he love us. We are his creation, and he will not leave us.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
— Deuteronomy 7:9

Romans tells us how wise he is, and James tells us that he never changes.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
— Romans 11:33

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
— James 1:17

I think we often forget how blessed we are to live in a time and place where we have the opportunity to seek God without fear of consequence from the world. Unfortunately, we let the world influence our lives to such a degree that we allow it into the place reserved for God.

I know that this has been true in my life. There have been so many things that I put in the place reserved only for my Jesus. I have let my job, my family, my marriage, what others thought of me, what others did to me, and what I did to others get in the way of seeking what God had for me. The closer my relationship gets to him, the more I understand that he is using those experiences to help me help others.

What about you? It may be time for you to go on a journey towards the entrance to a tunnel that you have been hiding for a long time. The way may be dark, but the Lord will guide you along the path. He is waiting on you to take the first step.

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