My husband and I took our kids out to Luray Caverns
on Friday for a little family adventure. It's a magical place and today I am astounded at a God who can create such magnificance and hide it underneath a hill. It was discovered in August of 1878, over 125 years ago, and yet existed inside that hill long before they found a way inside. The hill doesn't look like anything special on the outside, but inside you can walk for over a mile around the sculptures God formed - one drop of water at a time.
I have been thinking about Elizabeth, John the Baptist's mom, because I will be teaching a class about her just a little over a week from now. Elizabth had been barren for many years - at a time when being barren was a shame to a woman. When she became pregnant with John, she told no one about it for five months ,remaining in seclusion. I have been thinking about that for weeks now - Why did she hide? Well, we can never know for sure until we ask her in heaven - but here is my take on the situation.
She was pregnant with destiny - from her womb would come the one who would "make ready a people prepared for the Lord." She would take part in an event that would change the world forever. Yet no one else knew. She had been barren for many years and there would be no outward signs of her condition for - around five or six months. She knew what was growing inside of her, but others might have been very skeptical. Imagine an old lady running around saying she was pregnant. At best she would have been dismissed, at worst they might have thought her delusional - or even mad. She chose to remain silent, until the outward sign of the inward gift was made known.
Our own destinies sometimes can be just like that baby growing in Elizabeth's womb, or those caverns hidden under that hill. No one else may know they are there. You may be the only one who is aware of what God is doing within you, the purpose that is growing inside of you. God has placed within each of us a hidden destiny. We may know bits and pieces - aware of something that is bigger than us, but we don't fully grasp God's work in us and around us. We are prone to tunnel-vision, aware of only what is right in front of us, instead of what God is growing within us. I think Elizabeth was wise to keep the secret, to cherish that time when it was just between her and God (and her mute husband). It's a special time. Because once the world knows, everything changes. While that day back in 1878, only three men climbed into that cavern, now millions of people have wandered through it as they bathe it in artifical light. It's not quite the same because now what was only between you and God, is now available to all.
I think that God has placed a treasure within each of us. I so often see it in others. I marvel and wonder at what God might do with them. But just as Elizabeth eventually had to give birth to John, we too, have to be willing to give birth to our destiny - when God says the time is right. Because even though sharing that destiny changes it, I for one am glad those explorers shared their discovery so that millions can experience a taste of God's beauty. It can be hard to wait - especially when God has shared a secret with you that you wish those around you knew. It's easy to need others to affirm to you what you already know. But that's when we have to trust and know God's voice so fully, that we can no longer hear the doubters, the mockers or even the skeptics. All we need to hear is God - and trust that He can see inside of us, even when no one else can.