Psalm 142: Everybody Gets Cave Time

One Year Bible: II Kings 6:1-7:20, Acts 15:36-16:15; Psalm 142:1-7; Proverbs 17:24-25

Everybody Gets Cave Time

A maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.
I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.
I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.
(Psalm 142:1)

We all prefer to live out in the sunshine of God’s grace, but from time to time we get the “cave” instead. “Cave time” is just core curriculum in the school of spirituality maturity. Call it whatever you want: the pit, the prison, the desert, the wilderness—the cave is basic training for believers.

Joseph had a prison; Moses had the desert; Jeremiah had a pit, Daniel had a den, Paul was in and out of jail so many times, like Motel Six, they “kept the light on for him.” Even Jesus had a wilderness. Oh, he got a cave, too. He once spent three days in one. If Jesus had “cave-time,” the cave won’t be optional for you. Every believer gets “the cave.”

What is the cave? The cave is a place of death, it’s where you die to self. The cave is the place of testing; it’s the blast furnace for moral fiber. The cave is where your mettle gets tested, your maturity gets revealed, your heart gets exposed! Put a person in the cave of distress, discouragement or doubt, and true character will show up. And if your brave enough to open up to the truth about you, the cave will reveal just how much work God still has to do to get you ready for great things. (Deuteronomy 8:2)

Likewise, the cave is the place of separation. Not only does God reveal the true you in the cave, he also strips you of every misplaced dependency. (Deuteronomy 8:3) In the cave, God separated David from everything he had once depended on, and all that was left for David was God himself.

The cave was perhaps the most frustrating period in David’s life—but in hindsight, it turned out to be the most fruitful. That’s because the cave is also the place of forging. (Deuteronomy 8:4-5) The cave is where God breaks you down in order to build you up.

That’s what God does in the cave. And by the way, God does some of his best work in caves. It was there in the cave of Adullam that David wrote three of his most moving psalms—Psalms 34, 57 & 142, including our key verse: “I cry aloud to the Lord…I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.”

If you’re in a cave and you’re complaining to everyone else but God, you’re missing a great opportunity to pour out your heart to the only one who can do something about it. Good things always happen when you get honest with God. So try talking to him—and be patient, God does great work in caves.

If you doubt that, just remember that empty cave on the outskirts of Jerusalem. For three days, it held a crucified body. But God does great work in caves—best of which is resurrection. Perhaps that will change your mind about caves.

“We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good; if bad, because it works in us patience, humility, contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.”
~C.S. Lewis

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2 thoughts on “Psalm 142: Everybody Gets Cave Time

  1. Thank you for posting. I came upon you today "accidentally" through a C.S. Lewis link and have read several of your posts, all a blessing to me. This one touched me especially, as I'm now in my own cave and finally beginning to understand its meaning. The timelessness of God's truth is marvelous, is it not? Please remember this whenever you happen to be down: Your own words continue to touch lives long beyond the day they were written. Blessings!