A Prayer from the Cave

The epigraph for Psalm 142 reads:  “A contemplation of David.  A prayer when he was in the cave.”

How wonderful that David knew God could hear him from his gloomy hiding place.  These thoughts, shared today, were written during the summer of 2014, at the beginning of my mum’s precipitous decline, and from my season of beginning to learn what David already knew.


Today, we learned that my mother is losing her sight.


Yesterday, we learned that our neighbor had passed away.  He was in his nineties, a World War II veteran.  Even as his body was failing him, he was still puzzling over crosswords a few days before he died.  A good mind, a good man, a good life, but because it has ended — because I have spent time today explaining eye surgery and its risks to my mother — I am writing from a cave.

I cry out to the Lord with my voice . . . I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble, (verse 1).

I’m complaining because my mother’s small world is becoming even smaller.  I’m declaring my trouble before God, because our neighbor died in Florida before we could say good-bye; because his home across the road sits empty; because he missed the blooming of the lilacs.

The ringing phone with its news has sent me to my cave, and I am undone at my heart’s failure to improve its disposition by reading ahead to verse 7:  “Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name . . . for You shall deal bountifully with me.”

For now, the future tense seems way too late, and I wait in my cave for a daylight that may take its time in coming.  While I wait, there is a rightness to this quiet darkness, because it leaves space for remembering another summer:  Four little boys, two middle-aged parents, and our elderly neighbors making s’mores around the fire pit.  The mosquitoes had called a temporary truce, ceding the rights to our yard back to us long enough to ponder the delicious melding and melting of chocolate and marshmallow.  I peppered our neighbor with questions about WWII.  Warmed by the light of that fire (then and now), I remember a story about his friend Ernie and a café in Paris.  (His wife later revealed Ernie’s last name:  Hemingway.)

Is this the bounty David found in his cave?  Memory?

Could it be that true bounty is the willingness to have what God wills?
The willingness not to have what He does not will?

O, LORD, I sit in the same company David found in his cave.  You are the Light that shines in this dark place, “until the day dawns and the morning star rises in [my] heart.”

Forever light.


Photo credit

Subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews from Living Our Days delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

53 thoughts on “A Prayer from the Cave”

  1. Good morning, Michele … don’t you just love that we can come to God with all that’s true about us … and that He welcomes us with open arms.

    Even and especially during days of calamity, when it feels like all around our souls is giving way.

    A beautiful post indeed …


    1. “When all around our souls give way, He then is all my hope and stay.” Thanks for linking me into those time-tested lyrics. And thanks for your continual encouragement, Linda.


  2. I was enveloped in your contemplations. I’m sorry for your loss and the struggles with your mother. I too have my cave moments when I think about my parents. My dad’s health is failing and my mom, in her 80s, is primary caregiver and I live 2 states away. I should be there, but I’m not. I retreat to contemplate, too. Though we don’t like our sojourns in dark caves, it’s often there that we see God the best, isn’t it? Thank you for this touching post.


    1. Karen, ti is so hard to see our loved ones failing and to be helpless in the presence of their diminishment and suffering. Joining you today in a prayer for wisdom and grace to be all that we can even on days when it feels as if that’s not enough.


  3. I am SO thankful the Lord led you to re-post this, as I missed it the first time. Such depths are in it! When I first saw the title, I thought you were speaking of Elijah and his time in the cave. We can surely relate to both David and Elijah and the sorrows in their hearts. I am so sorry about your dear Mother and your neighbor, too. God’s peace to you, dear friend.


    1. Cheryl, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I hadn’t thought of Elijah, but I sure see the parallels and rejoice in the way that God came through for him as well.


  4. Dear Michele,

    Not only can Jesus reach into your cave, Isaiah 49:16 tells us: Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands . . .

    Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

    Our Great God will never leave us nor forsake us. I sincerely do not know how those outside of Christ Jesus cope with life. But I do know that God answers prayer and you with your family are in my prayers today.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Michele,
    Thank you for sharing from the heart when you were in the cave. Caves, in their very essence, are void of light. It is interesting, that when we are in pain, our writing becomes abbreviated and poignant. They basically say, “Jesus, Help”. So thankful we have a God who is our refuge when our hearts are in pain and we are safe beneath His wings. Thankful He drew near to you in your time of need.


  6. Thanks for reposting this, Michele. A timely description of where I find myself heading these days…I had lost touch with you accidentally (messing with blog account subscriptions some weeks back…) and checked in today to see what I was missing. Found this gem. True bounty–being willing to wait content for what God may or may not provide…He knows. And a cave need not be a gloomy place, depends who’s in it with you! Thankful to have him when other company is wanting… And thank-YOU for the encouragement to keep trusting.


    1. So nice to know that you are still out there, Linda! Good thoughts on company in the cave. Hope all is well with you and your family, and that you are getting lots of time with the grands.


  7. I’m glad you shared this Michele because I needed this today. I’m sitting in that cave myself because of my own parent’s health while living across the country and a situation my husband is dealing with at work. I’m thankful the Lord hears my prayers during this cave moment. Thanks for linking up with Thankful Thursdays.


  8. Beautiful words! God meets us in the dark and brings us light. Thank you for sharing this post again and letting us hear the deep parts of your heart as well as your hope in God. Sabbath blessings to you!


  9. I know you are reordering your life now that you have two full time jobs. 😉 I really loved this – The Prayer from the Cave. Sometimes things speak to me so deeply I am left mute. I’m praying from a cave right now and so your eloquent words hit a very tender place that I didn’t realized needed encouragement.

    Just so you and your dear hearts who comment here know, speaking from the other side of watching beloved elders decline, I’ve done this five times. It never gets easier but one thing I learned was that journaling helps put everything into perspective that somehow eases the transitions.


    1. I always love it when words bring us together, Meema. And I appreciate this infusion of wisdom and perspective on watching the decline of our parents. I don’t suppose it ever does get easier, and I do see that writing about it can help in sorting out some of the feelings. Sometimes putting a name on a feeling helps us to know how to function and how to bring it to God. SO SO good to hear from you.


  10. My prayers are with you and your mom in these many requests and losses, Michele. It’s great that God knew we’d have our own “cave experiences” just like David did. I have been studying 1 and now 2 Samuel and really enjoying walking alongside the fleeing and sometimes discouraged David. Most of all, I’m inspired by his continuous faith and humility. I want to be like him–a person after God’s heart. Thanks for sharing your vulnerable disclosures. May our prayers encircle you, your mom, and your friend’s family.


  11. Ahhh, Michelle, what a beautiful post. I’ve never thought about this passage in this way before. The thought of David’s remembering things from the past, places where God had shown up before, more light-filled times . . . I guess that is what we do in the darkness of caves. And yes. We must decide if we will accept what God wills for us—and what He doesn’t.

    Thanks for the reminder that there can be bounty, even in the dark caves of life.

    **I’m so glad we’re neighbors at Holly Barrett’s today!


  12. Your faith shines bright in your words, Michele! And yes, Praise our Lord for meeting us in our dark places and never forsaking us! Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Writing from the cave – something about that just resonates with me! I feel like I’m writing from a cave often…too often! Dealing with moves, loss, parental illness, etc. Caves for sure.
    Great thoughts here, as usual, Michele!


    1. Carol, I’ve enjoyed reading about the times when you have sent words out from your dark enclosures. We do need the reassurance of a community that hears and lets us know that what we’re hearing is not just the echoes inside the cave!


  14. This touched my heart. What sweet memories of your neighbor. It’s always so heart-wrenching when a friend or loved one dies. We rejoice that those who know Him are finally with Him, but we miss their presence until we see them again.

    We have been watching my mother-in-law’s slow decline for 8 years now, the last three of them in our home. She doesn’t have any serious underlying health issues, but her body had gradually just stopping working so that now she is bedridden and can only swallow pureed foods. It’s hard. My own parents died in their 60’s – that’s hard, too.

    Love the imagery of praying and seeking the Lord from the cave. Though I know David spent time there throughout his life, I don’t think I ever made the connection to the spiritual caves we sometimes find ourselves in. Thank God He is our light and help and solace.


    1. Thank you for sharing some of the hard journey you’ve been trusting your way through. It is so heart-rending to watch someone deteriorate, and then to lose them. Thankful that we have heaven to look forward to!


  15. Michele, these are beautiful words. Your timing with this post could not have been better with all of the grief our nation is experiencing. I pray for peace and continued healing for you and your family!


  16. Michele,
    We all find ourselves in the cave moments at various seasons of life, don’t we? I’m so thankful for a God who reaches in and provides hope no matter the depth or darkness of the cave. I love the use of this scripture here, Michele. As always, you bless me immensely! Thank you for being such an important part of sharing hope each week at #MomentsofHope!
    Blessings and smiles,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.