Have you ever gone caving? While your thoughts may be of tiny holes, head lamps, and getting stuck – there are other options.The first cave I ever “explored” was Timpanogos in the mountains of Utah. After climbing a switchback trail up a mountainside, you enter a small door which takes you through the mountain itself with its innumerable stalactites and stalagmites. A few weeks ago, my friend Dan and I drove up to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky to explore its depths. Proclaimed as the largest cave system in America (perhaps even the world), Mammoth has hundreds of miles of caves. We booked the 4 hour, 4 mile hike through the majority of the cave open to the public. A couple years ago, my parents and I ventured on a short tour through Mammoth. Expecting to see icicles of dripping water and calcium, I was surprised to find massive open caverns and tunnels, without a stalactite in sight. Though I knew this adventure a few weeks ago involved a couple places of hanging tites and rising mites, I was not expecting the sights I discovered.
While there were a few tight spaces to wiggle through, the majority of the tour was again, huge caverns (perhaps ‘mammoth’ is more appropriate). Being 300 feet below the surface and having the space to fit a 15 story building in an underground room seems a bit odd. Several areas even reminded me of The Fellowship of the Ring as they entered into mountain of the dwarfs. One area even had a switchback trail just to follow the path over “Everest” (as they called it) into the next room. Now in all fairness, it wasn’t entirely rugged and arduous. We stopped part way to have lunch (which you can purchase in the “snowball room” – a sandwich and hot soup … though Dan declared it entirely disgusting) and at several locations they had bathrooms; yes, with running water and flushing toilets.
But here’s the point. Traveling 300 feet underground for several hours looking upon room after room of nothing but rock could seem dull and monotonous. However, every turn we made provoked “ooh” and “ahh” to escape my lips. How can mere stone cause such ecstasy? It wasn’t the stone itself but, as Dan and I processed later, it was the extravagance and grandeur of the “unseen.” The one thought that continually rang in my mind was how incredible and marvelous and creative God is to form and shape even the deep caverns of the earth, places most people never see. If God is so concerned about the deep and pitch black places (I was thankful for electricity on our trip), can you imagine how concerned and invested He is with the things you can see? Especially our lives. Matthew 6.25-34 seems to have a similar sound.
Walking the dirt paths of an underground cave was not just a day-long adventure, it was a time of worship and awe. A time of basking in the ornamentation and lavishness of my Lord and King.
Walking into the visitors center we passed this “hole digger” out front.
Dan: “So that’s how they do it.”