I found myself lost in a cave. I guess I had been drawn there to escape the wandering and the overwhelming sense that I could not find my way. I had lost my way because of the hurt that I buried deep in my heart and soul. I was drawn to this supposed safe place because it was hidden away and removed from the world and the hurt that I had experienced. The cave had walls. It was solid. When I spoke it listened, or so I thought. But the problem was that I got lost in the labyrinth of caverns. Each cavernous space began echoing back my memories, pain, hate, resentment, anger, and rejection until that was all that I heard and any other thought was drowned out by the past. The cave became a reminder of what had come before, the very reason I was running away. You see, a cave is the result of what has been done to it. Erosion and years of tearing down and taking away has created each space, each crevice, each nook and cranny leaving empty spaces. It is a memorial of the past. At every turn, it reminded me of what had been done to me and the hurtful things I had lived through. Words had been spoken and deeds had been acted out in anger. Each space was a reminder of the very thing I had tried to escape. It echoed relentlessly with every heartbeat, every step I took, and with every breath I breathed. I could not escape myself. I cried out to God, and it only echoed back my cries of desperation. Occasionally someone would call in after me, but their voice got lost in the maze of caverns and spaces. I tried to follow the voices but again got lost. Despair, hurt, and pain became my constant companions. I soon regretted the choice I had made and was feeling foolish for my lack of strength. I cried out to God again and this time I heard Him speak; a very still quiet voice began to guide me through the caverns. It was slow going, and I had to tune my ear to His voice. At times, I questioned this voice wondering if it was my imagination. As I followed His direction, I still felt lost and was about to give up when I saw a dim light. As I neared the light, I realized it was an opening to the outside. My heart rose in anticipation and then sank with fear and dread. What would I find outside? Would I be faced with the very thing I was running from? Could I handle the pressures of the life I had before? And then I heard God calling to me. He was quieting my fears with His promises. “I will walk with you. I will be your constant companion.” His voice comforted me as I moved forward slowly toward the opening. At first, I saw a bright light and then a figure with outstretched arms waiting for me. Squinting my eyes against the brightness from the outside, I could partially see the details of His face. His face was familiar to me, and when I saw His eyes, I was drawn to them. His gaze drew me deeper until I saw something ancient, something sacred, and something that spoke without words. He was speaking to my guarded and wounded heart. I had an uncontrollable urge to leap into His arms. And so I did. I leaped into His arms and wrapped my arms and legs around Him and became a child again. My arms hugged His neck as He whispered comforting words to me. I will bind up your broken heart and set you free from the captivity of your past. (Isaiah 61:1) He held me close and said that He had been looking for me. He knew He would find me here. After a while, I climbed down and looked around. Nature surrounded me with trees, a lake, and tall grasses moving gently and rhythmically with the wind. The sun warmed the air, and I could smell a bouquet of fragrances that I had dismissed before. It was intoxicating. He walked with me in silence as I took in the glory and the beauty of the world around me. A place I now knew He had created and formed even before humans walked on this earth. I knew Him and He knew me. He was talking to my heart. The man I walked with was Jesus Christ, my Savior. He comforted me with His presence. He spoke of a hope that would never fail and the joy that comes from knowing God. He spoke of things that were the direct opposite of what I had learned from the world. I was learning to let go of my life so that I may gain it in Him. I asked Him if I would ever get lost in the cave again. He told me that He had filled it with His living water and that the next time I went in there I would be fully immersed into His glory. God, who is not limited by time, is in our past. He changes how the past affects us by turning it into something that can be used for His good. He will fill every crevice and every expansive cavern of our heart with His truth if we let Him. Every memory, hurt, pain or suffering can be transformed into something good to be used to help or comfort others. He repurposes our sufferings into tools of healing and restoration from ashes to beauty. The next time I need to escape, I will go where God is, and I will drink in His presence and swim in His love. Next time, I will wander into the heart of God and not get lost.