On a hot summer afternoon in 1901, a nineteen-year-old cowboy, Jim White, was riding along a ridge in southeast New Mexico.
Suddenly he saw it. It was a menacing sight. Black smoke was spiraling up out of the ground hundreds of feet into the air. “Is it a volcano?” he wondered.
He wound his way toward the funnel-shaped cloud, through cactus, yucca, and rocks. When he reached the source of the smoke, Jim made a frightful discovery – a gaping hole in the earth that resembled the mouth of the netherworld. Then, if that wasn’t enough to spook a cowboy, Jim White realized he wasn’t watching smoke billow out of the ground. The “smoke” was millions of bats rising from the biggest cave he’d ever seen.
Any other person would have turned and run from this vision straight out of Revelation. But Jim began a quest of exploration that continued for the next thirty years. What Jim White had stumbled upon was Carlsbad Caverns. And because he refused to let his fears snuff out his thirst for knowledge, Jim White opened to some of the world the largest subterranean chambers, towering drip-stone formations, and a fantastic wonderland. Carlsbad Caverns became a National Monument in 1923 and a National Park in 1930, largely due to Jim White’s exploration and publicizing of the cave.
A Disguised Blessing
At first glance it appeared as a terrifying sight. But Carlsbad Caverns proved to be a national treasure that had waited hundreds of centuries for a brave soul to shed light on its spectacular beauty.
There are times when life ushers us into circumstances we dread. “The thing we feared has come upon us,” we tell ourselves. We feel like we’re facing the very gates of hell – stuck in the worst place doing the worst job.
But maybe it’s not going to be the hell we envision. And, just maybe, we will make the discovery of a lifetime in this hellish place and we will find the curse is actually a blessing in disguise. In these dark, gloomy circumstances God will reveal to us the unsearchable riches of Christ and bless us with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3; 3:8).
Dear Father in heaven, help me to stop bemoaning my circumstances, resign myself to Your will, and to seek to be a blessing to those around me. Amen.