The Cave in Our Yard

dsc_0302I’ve been to a lot of caves in my life. Mammoth Cave, Wind Cave, Mark Twain Cave, and many others. Caves are dark and damp. And then the tour guide takes you to an isolated room away from any entrance and turns off the lights … in complete dampness and darkness. (Well, except for a bright, red exit sign.) Caves with tour guides don’t bother me. Caves without tour guides are scary and I’m not sure I’d want to go inside one.

I know this for a fact because I lived in a house with a cave in the backyard. A real cave. The house was located about 100 yards from a Revolutionary War fort (though the house itself wasn’t built until the 1800s and the fort wasn’t reconstructed until after we moved.). The fort is often called “the lead mine” fort. According to legend, the lead was put on a raft and sent down the creek (which disappeared in the cave) and then it came out several miles down the road. The enemy could not figure out where it originated. Don’t know if that’s true, but some high school boys from our church tried it (sending a raft into the cave) and it did reappear down the road where the creek came out of another opening. So who knows.

When I went back to visit as an adult the fort tour guide asked me if I had ever gone inside the cave as a kid. (They were doing research.) I said, “No, my dad told me to stay away from it.” They insisted that I must have explored it at least once or twice when my dad wasn’t looking and I told them they didn’t know my dad.

Even without my dad’s admonitions, I didn’t want to go into the cave.  To my childhood brain, it looked threateningly frightening. We had a LOT of poisonous snakes around, plus the prevalent limestone was not very stable. I would stay out of THAT scary place. Thank you.

{By the way, the name of the fort is Fort Roberdeau and admission is $5.00 – yes, the house is now part of the grounds, so you have to pay to see where I used to live. How cool is that? And even cooler – I met a teen through Summit (Awana) who was actually a tour guide at the fort!}

In Ephesians 5, we read about our desire as humans to gravitate toward darkness when we are doing something we shouldn’t be doing. Just like the cave in our yard was unstable and the home to rattlesnakes and copperheads, so the darkness of sin is also filled with danger.

dsc_0303Instead of broken walls and poisonous crawly creatures, the darkness of sin includes: sexual immorality, impurity, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talk, and crude joking (these are the sins mentioned in this passage). Some of these characteristics might look good at first (just like the cave was nestled in a grassy knoll with blackberry and raspberry bushes growing nearby,) but they lead to destruction.

My father had warned me of the dangers of the dark, eerie cave and said not to mess around in it … not even on the rocks at the entrance. Being a fairly obedient child (because I had parents who believed in consistency and consequences) I didn’t go near the cave.

Ok, this is about my childhood, but what about the kids in your life? Don’t kid yourself, kids understand the value of hiding in the darkness. Have you ever had a child take some forbidden food into a closet with her? Or a child hide under a bed because he knew he was in trouble and didn’t want to face a parent? Or a child sneak around in the darkness thinking no one could see him/her? They understand using darkness to hide their sins.

My earthly father told me to stay out of the darkness of the dangerous cave and instead play in our expansive yard, take a walk in the woods, go over to the pasture and pet our neighbor’s cows, splash in the crystal clear brook, and  …

Our Heavenly Father tells us to stay away from the darkness and walk in the light and enjoy the good things He has so freely provided for us.

You can also use the darkness/light illustration to help kids be discerning.  Do they have a problem telling the difference between right or wrong? Ask if they would be willing to do whatever it is they want to do in the light with others watching or do they feel the need to be sneaky and hide in the shadows?

Things willingly done in the light are often (not always) the right choices, and things they desire to do while hiding in a dark place are often (not always) the wrong choices.

Things done in the light are those things that are good and right and true. (Ephesians 5:8)

Let’s Walk in the Light and teach our kids to Walk in the Light too.

(By the way, although I often use stock photo pictures on my blog – these pictures are mine, the actual cave in our backyard.)





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