My friend Mark told a story the other day that I can not get out of my mind. He had a friend who was on vacation in Florida where he and another friend went scuba diving. They decided to go into a cave which most scuba divers know not to do unless they have been trained specifically for cave diving. Many great scuba divers die in caves.

As they explored this cave with its crystal clear water they were amazed at the beauty. After spending as much time as they could in the cave, they finally looked down at their air gages and realized that they were running out of air and it was time to turn back. What they didn’t realize is that the water in the cave was crystal clear going in because all of the fine silt from the cave was laying on the bottom of the cave floor until they swam in and disturbed it with their fins. When they turned around to leave the water was filled with silt and they were completely blind even with their flashlights in hand.

It didn’t take long for panic to set in and as they searched frantically for the cave exit, Mark’s friend watched as his friend took his last breath and floated lifeless in the water. Knowing he would be next, he continued to search for the exit with all of his remaining strength. As despair set in and he was sure he would die with his friend in the cave, he heard a voice that told him to turn off his flashlight. He thought, “Ya right” and ignored the voice refusing to not only die in this cave alone but alone in the dark! He heard the voice again though and decided that he was going to die anyway so what difference does it make if it’s in the dark.

When Mark’s friend decided to turn off his flashlight, the most amazing thing happened. His eyes began to adjust to the cloudiness of the water and he noticed a small light in the distance. No this was not an angel, but instead it was the tiny light coming from the entrance of the cave. He swam into that light and escaped the cave with his life and a new faith that he would later give his life to.

As I listened to this story, it just penetrated my heart and convicted me about how much time I spend frantically waving my flashlight back and forth in the dark searching for those things that I am convinced will satisfy all of my broken or empty places. At times you feel like you are in such desperate time of need your oxygen is also about to run out and you will surely die, but I believe God is whispering to me in those times, “Shannon turn your flashlight off.”

Just like mark’s friend, I too resist. Yet in those dark hours when I obey, fully trust God to lead me, and release my grip; my eyes begin to adjust and I realize that the Light of the World is capable of guiding my steps. He, the Bible says, “illuminates the darkness” and He will guide me to fullness.

- S

Shannon Hoffpauir