Through caverns to the light

I was brought up a Catholic and attended a church every Sunday, but it all seemed total nonsense to me. Strange words muttered in a chant followed by bells and funny smelling things. I fainted on entering the church one day and was called the devil’s child by a nun of all people! The Primary school connected to the church contacted my mum and told her to take me to a doctor because they thought I was mental! As fast as I could, I developed a reason to get out of attending this church which seemed like an alien planet to me.

I started Secondary school I started to learn the cornet. I joined a brass band and loved played the hymns which seemed wholesome. A couple of years later I joined a marching band and as this met quite often and, on a Sunday as well, this was my excuse to get out of church – I never went back apart from Christmas!

I also had an unwholesome fascination with magic, witchcraft and Druidry. I suppose you could say I was just fulfilling what the church had labelled me as. The more I read and explored these subjects, the darker life seemed to be. It became a secret obsession. Strangely this too was strange words and funny smells, trying to enact various rituals just like the church I had escaped from. One remnant from my church growing up was that I felt I was such a wretched sinner that I deserved any pain or ill fortune that came my way. This guided my thoughts and actions at school and I was in fights and caned often.

A good fascination was maps and exploring caves. Caving became a way of life as I explored with my friends many caves and potholes up and down the UK. I did this sport for many years. Besides playing in bands, this was one of the most wholesome things I did, but I did develop a ‘stare death in the face’ mentality – I was reckless. After some years a series of accidents and near misses started to happen.

There were many times were my life was in danger, usually because I took risks, but it seemed at the time that I was spared by some supernatural force, not only in caves but whilst driving my car and walking in mountains. Once I nearly drowned in a bog in the Lake District only to find some strength when I saw a rainbow. I eventually decided that an angel perhaps was sparing my life. When things like this happen again and again and again then you start to think about why this is happening, like rolling a dice and constantly rolling sixes, either the dice is weighted or there is another force at play. It was like an angel was there with me. One week in the lakes, on my own in a tent surrounded by snow, I felt a presence and wrote many poems about what I was feeling. Always this presence was with nature, not nature itself but this was were the connection was greatest.

One day in “Knotlow Mine” in Derbyshire, I was exploring a section when the roof started to collapse and I felt a force holding the rood just long enough for me to crawl out to safety. Another time I nearly fell headfirst down a two-hundred-foot shaft, but my boot caught a stalagmite on the side of the wall and I was saved, held upside down.

Two really big events were “Yordas Cave” and the “Valley System” in Ingleborough, Yorkshire. “Yordas Cave” was when the riverbed was completely dry and then it started to rain, and the river filled up and flooded very quickly. I recklessly stood in the way of the river as a joke whilst my friend took a picture (I later called this my real baptism) and both myself and my friend were washed into the system and were nearly washed into a sump which would have drowned us straight away, but I managed to get my footing and pulled my friend to safety on a mud bank.

The other time was doing what cavers called a pull through trip, pulling the rope down and journeying from top to bottom of a system coming out at the bottom of the hill. As soon as we entered the system, we felt a flood pulse and from that moment we were fighting for our lives against the water. I went down one pitch which was a solid waterfall, it felt like rocks rather than water. I lost grip on the small figure of eight descender. I remember saying the twenty third psalm out loud. I fell through the air and somehow felt myself pushed to the side and I landed on a ledge, unharmed. I somehow managed to guide the rope for my friends down safely and we managed to escape with our lives. From that moment I sought to discover what had saved me and I read my bible frequently.

Years went by and It was whilst travelling for four hours a day and feeling helpless being away from home and family that eventually I was awoken by God in the middle of the night saying audibly “Pray and repent”. This I did, and it was like a hot shower of oil for a period of time on my knees followed by the world turning from black and white into colour, like I had come out of the cave and Jesus was suddenly standing there asking me to go and bring others out of the darkness to him. All these years I had never really heard who Jesus was or why He had come into the world. For some time the world seemed to be full of colour, and new. Chance meetings and all conversations all seemed to lead to God.

My years of journeying through physical caves, living in darkness led to myself being led out of a spiritual cave and freed from the darkness that had consumed my mind for many years. The grip of my childhood fascinations was destroyed forever, and I had accepted Jesus as Lord and saviour.

Since that moment I have had a change of life, a change of thought. Things I used to do I now see as sinful and are not part of my new self as I seek to learn and journey with my saviour telling as many that will listen about how they can be saved. Ravi was a wonderful teacher, learning only through online videos but many times those words seemed directed for me personally and he dragged me out of many a pit that would have led back into the darkness and hopefully one day I shall thank him in person in heaven.

A short documentary was kindly made by the bible society and that sums up the story in a more concise way.

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Excellent testimony, @Graham - I have often used the cave metaphor to describe God providentially leading people from darkness to light just as you have described.

But you’re not a metaphor - you’re the real thing! Thank you for giving me a real, living, breathing example of a troglodite entering the light!

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Hi @Graham, what a fantastic testimony, thank you for sharing! Isn’t God good that even with these negative childhood experiences of church, God was able to use what you’d learned of Psalm 23 to bring you back to Him!

I found your story so interesting and it just reconfirms that God has a plan and a purpose for you and each one of us!

I also find it easy to feel the presence of God when I’m out in nature. It gives a glimpse of His original design of mankind in the garden, walking in step with God each day.

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You would naturally think that a cave is far removed from God, but there were many times I sat and turned my light off and just listened and even though it was so black you couldn’t see a thing, I could sense that this was also His domain.

Psalm 139:7-12
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,
”Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

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You are a beautiful writer. It was difficult to pick out which point was really the best aspect of your testimony. I think you paint a picture of a God that pursues and never forsakes. God bless you.

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@Graham Thank you for a beautiful and challenging testimony. Your spelunking career strikes me not only for its adrenaline rush but also for its beauty. That you found God in caves fascinates me. God speaks uniquely to each person.

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What a beautiful testimony of God’s zealous love.

This reminds me of how vital the spiritual light is! If this light is turned off or hid under a bushel (Matthew 5:14-16), death will prevail. Those in the cave of sin and utter darkness will have no hope of salvation from the lonely, eerie, and secluded darkness and entanglement. I love reading how passionate you are for your Savior now and how you long to shine forth the vivid color of Jesus Christ to the world! Keep running!

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I must admit you reminded me of a talk I did to some teenagers about the caving light and God

I always used a carbide generator for my caving lamp, thus you have the rock (carbide) the water that drips on the rock to create gas and then the flame which illuminates.

God is our rock as the psalms say. Analogies of the trinity always fall short but in order for Gods light to shine, and illuminate our way in the world we need the water to be topped up after a time. Jesus is the water of life as he said to the Samaritan women. The bigger the drip the larger the light, and so it is so important we read daily the word for the water of life to be released for the flame of the Holy Spirit and allow Gods light to shine.

Interestingly there is a mirror at the back of the flame and if that is tarnished then the flame is diminished. Taking our sins to God and handing them over on a regular basis is important to have a clean mirror.

I would say light in a cave is the most important thing because without this you can not really go forwards without the risk of falling into pits.

God bless

Graham

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I really like that analogy, Graham! Praise the Lord, too, that He saved your life on so many occasions and brought you through those spiritual caves to the light of Christ! I pray He blesses you in a most surprising way today. :slight_smile:

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How enriching the analogy is “in light of (:grin:)“ Who our God is!

That is spot on! Thank you for sharing @Graham.

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