Sinkholes

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I’ve come across two sinkholes in my life.  I’m not being metaphorical here.   I’ve literally had two ginormous sinkholes crater the roadway near me.  

The first happened about 6 or 7 years ago, on the way to church one Sunday morning.  A  massive section of road literally fell out just moments after we passed over it in our truck.  It measured 40-50 feet in diameter and was estimated to be up to 100 feet deep.
The most recent sinkhole happened about 3 weeks ago, just a few feet from the drive to our home.  Heavy rains caused the creek that runs across our farm to flood, spilling water over the roadway.  Cautiously, a woman in an SUV decided to drive through it, crossing over the creek area where two culverts run underground.  At that moment, the water caused the culverts to shift and the road gave way, sending her SUV into the hole.  She held on for dear life, as the vehicle dangled by its back tires. 
Two dangerous sinkholes within close proximity to me.  Does anyone else find this strange? Obviously, sinkholes catch my attention now.  Like the guy in Florida earlier this year, sleeping in his bed—in his bed, people!—when a massive sinkhole engulfed him, his bed, his bedroom and most of his house.  Check it out here:
Lord, what can I learn from sinkholes?
Like sinkholes, life sometimes just suddenly falls out from under us.  I’ve had many an instance where I thought I was on steady ground and BAM!  Sinkhole!  Even during a storm, I’m usually pretty confident in the ground.  My eyes are focused on the wind, rain, lightening, not the ground beneath me.  The storm is enough; do I really need to worry about the ground, too?

Lesson #1:  If Jesus is The Rock I’m standing on, I don’t have to worry. 

Matthew 7:24-25~ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

The lady who drove over the culverts couldn’t see the road was giving way, because it was covered with water.  She’s likely driven that way dozens of times, maybe even in the rain, and never had a problem.  But this time, she had no idea what was shifting beneath the surface, no way of knowing her next move could send her plunging.  Even though it was storming, she felt in control of the situation.

We like to think we know what’s going on, that we’ve got our bearings even in the midst of the storms of life.  But the truth is, we have no idea what’s lurking beneath the surface, no way of knowing what moves to make or which turns to take. 

Lesson #2: I need the omnipotent, all-knowing Lord of Creation to direct my steps.

Proverbs 3:5-6~ “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight.”

Job 11:7-8~ “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above–what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below–what can you know?”

Sometimes we’re terribly aware of the storm and anxiously anticipating the moment the ground gives.  We know the bottom is about to fall out because somewhere down the road, we made poor choices.  We know it’s coming, so we hold on tight and pray for someone to pull us out.  That’s what happened to the woman in front of my house.  Rather than turn back, she made the choice to drive through rushing water.  Once she fell, all she could do was hold on, pray she didn’t slip further, and wait for help.  One of my neighbors risked her own safety and comfort in order to be by this woman’s side.  Eventually, more help arrived and they got her out safely.  As soon as she was out, however, her SUV was totally engulfed by the hole.

Lesson #3: Whether I do something to cause the hole or if it’s unforeseen and completely out of my control, is irrelevant.  Sinkholes happen.
Psalm 25:5~ “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
In both of my sinkhole experiences, I did not fall nor did anyone else.  (Praise God!)  But what about the guy in Florida?  He did fall. Sometimes, people just fall.  We as believers must be there, as Jesus’ hands and feet, to pull them out.  My neighbor didn’t bombard the woman with questions like, “Why did you do that” or “What were you thinking?”  She simply stayed by her side and held her hand until help arrived. She gave the woman hope. Sometimes that’s all we need to do.  Just hold the hands of those sinking and offer them hope until The Rescuer saves them.
Lesson #4:  No hole is so deep that we can’t be pulled out.
John 4:10~ “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” 
Job 33:28~ “God has delivered me from going down to the pit, and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.”
Here’s a few pictures of what transpired in front of our home.  Pretty scary.  The road is now repaired and back to normal, though our fence and the creek bed still have stories to tell.  I’m thankful no one was seriously injured, in either sinkhole instance, and I’m thankful for what they have taught me.  Hopefully, you too can learn from my sinkholes.
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