Friday, June 21, 2013

DEVOTION: Search My Heart, O God ~ Donna Pyle

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” 
Psalm 139:23-24

Eighteen years ago, I visited Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. As an adventurous person, naturally I signed up for cave exploration and eagerly looked forward to it.

On the appointed day, the tour guide gathered our group and carefully led us 250 feet below the earth’s surface by way of steep steps, narrow crevices, and general spookiness.

By the time I reached the cave bottom, my legs shook from exertion. We found ourselves in a large, cavernous space lit by electricity. Once the tour guide ensured that we had all descended safely—and after issuing the proper warning—he turned off the lights.

Few words can adequately describe the absolute blackness that engulfed us. The thick darkness felt physically oppressive. I almost couldn’t breathe. And frankly, it was downright scary.

Despite knowing that I was surrounded by people, I felt completely lost and alone. After a couple of minutes when our eyes adjusted to the blackness, the tour guide struck a solitary match.

The effect was astonishing.

I could clearly see each person, the cave walls and even the high ceiling. That small light completely expelled the cavernous darkness.

That experience left an indelible impression on me. It illustrated better than any words where the blackness of sin would have taken mankind had Jesus not freely offered His light in the place of our darkness.

The darkness of sin is ugly, engulfing, oppressive and hopeless. It causes us to feel completely lost and alone. Do we really want our holy God searching and finding that in us? You bet we do! Only when God shines His light into that darkness do we have any hope of recognizing, overcoming and expelling it through His power.

By sending Jesus as the Light of the world, God determined that we should not be trapped in oppressive caves of darkness.

He desires for us to live abundantly in the refining fire of His truth. “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light.” John 3:21

Thank God today for the amazing gift of His forgiveness.

Have you ever experienced that sort of darkness, like I did in the Mammoth cave? Like to tell us about it?

DONNA PYLE is a speaker, author, Bible teacher and worship leader with a passion for studying and teaching God’s Word. Since launching Artesian Ministries in 2007, she has authored 20 full-length Bible studies, as well as numerous smaller Bible studies, devotions, and magazine articles. She has released two DVD-based Bible study series and a small-group based Bible study book, The God of All Comfort, through Concordia Publishing House on August 15, 2012. She regularly travels throughout the U.S. and internationally, speaking at conferences, conventions, women’s retreats, prayer luncheons, and special events. Read more about Donna at her website.


  1. Beautiful analogy! It brought home the point vividly.

    Being claustrophobic, I'm impressed with your foray into any cave, much less this kind of spelunking expedition.

    Thank you for your graphic description. It took me there without the angst.

  2. Good analogy Donna. Similar experience in Jenolan Caves in Australia.