A few years ago I had the privilege of visiting the very picturesque Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend, TN. One of the last things the guide did on our tour was to turn off all the lights for a brief few moments. The total darkness was quite an experience! I couldn’t see my hand, I could feel the cold dampness, and the only sound was that of water running down the inside of the cave. That was indeed a dark, damp, and lonely place! As the seconds ticked by, my wife squeezed my hand tighter, a gentle reminder that I was in a dark place, but not alone. That cave experience is nothing compared to the dark, damp, lonely cave that David ran to in 1 Samuel 22. David had lost his job in the palace, lost his wife, lost his best friend, and lost his mentor and pastor, Samuel. Due to the king’s jealousy, David had become a fugitive, being hunted down by the king and his army like a common criminal. What David did next, as recorded in Psalm 57, is a great pattern for all of us to follow. The first thing he did was to PRAY. He said, “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me” (verse 2). David immediately went to the “One” who could give him the strength he needed to endure this awful time in his life. The second thing David did was to PRAISE. He praised God for who He is, calling Him the “God Most High” in verse 2. He praised God in verse 9 by expressing thanks to Him and telling others about Him. “I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.” He praised God by lifting his voice in song and with musical instruments. “I will sing and give praise. Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations” (verses 7-9). When you find yourself in the “dark cave of despair” take time to praise God. Praise Him for who He is, and for what He has done. Thank Him specifically for past victories in your life. Then praise Him with good music. David obviously feared for his life, saying in verses 4 and 6, “My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me.”
David honestly and plainly laid out his plight before the Lord, but without whining, complaining, or feeling sorry for himself. When you find yourself in the “dark cave of despair,” even if it’s not your fault that you are there, PITY NOT! Feeling sorry for yourself won’t help the situation one bit! David, in the last sentence of verse 6, speaking about the pit said, “into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves.” The pit you see in front of you, the one you feel you will surely fall into, may not be meant for you at all!
Lastly, David was PERSISTENT, saying in verse 7, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed.” The word fixed means “steadfast or resolutely firm and unwavering.” David completely trusted God, and was firm and unwavering in his commitment to Him. He could do so because he knew Him well. The only way we can fully trust God in any situation is to know Him well, and that only comes as a result of spending quality time in His Word. Doing so will enable us to be “steadfast, unwavering, and persistent” at all times.
When you find yourself in the “dark cave of despair,” being hunted by sin, sickness, Satan, sorrow, or suffering; don’t despair, look up, never around you or down. In times of adversity and in good times, remember the PATH of PEACE often comes thru THE DARK CAVE OF DESPAIR. Follow David’s example in Psalm 57: PRAY, PRAISE, PITY NOT, and PERSISTENCE. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth” (Psalms 121:1-2).