Have you ever seen any of the Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve? Do you remember his “Fortress of Solitude”? It’s his hideaway in the far reaches of the Arctic, and its appearance is striking. The Fortress looks like it’s made of gigantic white crystal columns or beams. These intersect each other to form an impregnable fortress. But did you know that such a place actually exists?
It is not in the Arctic, but deep below the surface of the earth – 984 feet down. This place consists of a horseshoe-shaped limestone cave below Naica Mountain in Chihuahua, Mexico. This cave is small, only 90 feet long and about 30 feet from floor to ceiling. But in it are the largest selenite gypsum crystals in the world. And they look just like the giant crystal columns of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. One of these crystals is 36 feet long and weighs 55 tons!
This “Cave of the Crystals” (Cueva de los Cristales) was not discovered until 2000, when two miners of Industria Peñoles broke into the chamber. Scientists of course came and took over and have been studying it ever since.
One might ask how these crystals came to grow so large? It all has to do with conditions in the cave. Far from the cool 55 degree (F) temperatures of most caves, the air temperature in Cave of the Crystals is an overpowering 136 degrees. The humidity is also worth mentioning, ranging from 90 to 99 percent. To make matters worse, the air is highly acidic and will burn the eyes and lungs of any person not wearing protection. The scientists who explore the cave must wear respirators and special cooling suits. But, even with their equipment, they can only remain in the cave for 45 minutes at a time. Yet, under these intolerable conditions these massive crystals underwent such stupendous growth.
The Big Picture
Have you ever wondered why the world, much like the condition of these caves, can be such an intolerable place? Humanity’s sin might have something to do with it.
Sin has corrupted our hearts, drastically shortened our lives, and given us an inclination towards evil (Romans 5:12-21). Therefore sickness, violence, and injustice fill our world. Thus God, in judgment against our sin, has cursed the earth (Genesis 3:17-19). Consequently, our crops are choked by weeds and thistles, and our harvests are blighted. It is one of the reasons why our planet, created to be a safe habitation for us, writhes with earthquakes and natural disasters (Romans 8:20-22).
But why does God allow all this evil and calamity to continue? Why does He not yet usher in the New Heaven and New Earth that He promised where there is no dying, no pain, no sorrow, and no evil (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:7, 10-13; Revelation 21:1)? Why does God prolong our sojourn under these intolerable conditions? Why must the child of God be forced to dwell in a world so filled with temptation and adversity?
God keeps us down here to prepare us for up there. For reasons only known to God, the intolerable conditions in this earthly realm provide a fantastic growth medium for the Christian believer’s faith and character. The harsh conditions of Cueva de los Cristales makes beautiful towering crystal columns. Similarly, the bitterness of this world generates towering saints up above for when our time comes.
So do not lose heart or be too distressed by all the hostility, injustice, and pain in this world. Pray for God’s blessing and salvation to come to our nation and our world. Trust God to use this world’s toxicity to make you a greater fit for eternity in heaven, and to help those that are struggling here on earth.
Dear Father in heaven, I get so weary and distressed by all the conflict and pain that fills our world. Please pour out Your Spirit upon all humanity and turn our hearts to You in faith and repentance and to each other in love and reconciliation. Please raise up laborers for the Gospel harvest to bring sinners to salvation in Christ. Please raise up men and women of God to lead our nation and this world on the path of righteousness. Please bring healing and peace to our world. But until then, help me to endure life’s intolerable conditions. Help me to discern how You are using them to make me more like Jesus Christ and fit for heaven. Amen.
The content of this article comes from “The Warrior’s Bible” (2014) and is copyrighted by Life Publishers International. Used with permission.