?Danger! Keep Out!?

Ezekiel 33:11  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
One bright summer afternoon in 1892 two young men, Charles and Walter, were cautiously hiking down a steep mountain trail near Pike’s Peak. They were only casual acquaintances, having only recently met at a Manitou Colorado health resort. As they rounded a curve, they came upon the entrance to a cave. It was boarded up, and over it was a large sign: “DANGER! KEEP OUT!” Charles stopped to peer between the boards into the darkness, exclaiming, “I should like to explore this cave! Will you go with me?”
“Most assuredly not,” replied Walter, and begged him not to attempt it. But Charles was determined!
At the foot of the trail Charles obtained a lantern, said, “Good-bye” to his friend, and returned to the cave. Lighting his lantern and pushing aside the barriers, he boldly entered the deep dark cavern. At first his feeble light seemed barely to penetrate the dense darkness, but as his eyes became more accustomed, he could discern jagged rocks and walls, and a path, down which he cautiously moved. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:1212There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12)). All seemed to go well for a time, until suddenly he stepped off into space, and fell down a precipice, where he lay unconscious.
How many there are who grope by the flickering light of reason, and at death take a “leap into the dark!”
“He that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth” (John 12:3535Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. (John 12:35)). When Charles came to, he found himself bruised and sore, engulfed in thick darkness, and with his lantern in pieces at his side. In his pocket he found a few matches, which he struck, one by one, only to have them flicker and go out. Their light had shown him the precipice over which he had fallen, but which was impossible to climb. Trembling with cold and terror, he scarcely dared move, for fear of falling again, so he crept carefully along on hands and knees until his trousers were worn through and his knees bleeding. Dreading being buried alive, he felt sure he must die!
In his despair and anguish, the sins of his past life came before him, and he cried to God for mercy, not for the salvation of his body, for that seemed impossible, but to save his never-dying soul! Scriptures which he had often heard, but never heeded, came flooding into his soul with living power. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:77The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. (John 1:7)). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:3131And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31)). “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:3636He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)). These precious truths, like warm sunshine, illuminated his dark cold heart, and he accepted the Saviour as having died for his sins.
Still his bodily plight was unchanged, and he decided to keep moving as long as his strength lasted. He had no idea of the passage of time, as he painfully and hopelessly dragged himself over rocks and stones. He thought of his mother, and finding a piece of paper and a pencil in his pocket, he scribbled a note to her as best he could telling her not to mourn for him but to rejoice, because this dreadful experience had been the means of bringing him to his blessed Saviour, who loved him and had given Himself for him, and he was happy in the thought of soon being with Him. He gave her address, asking that his body be sent to her.
Still creeping wearily about, he felt a rope, which he followed with wondering hope until something — was it fresh air? — touched his cheek! On he went; then a pale glimmer of light appeared, which gradually increased until he could dimly discern in the distance an opening! At last he reached it and emerged into the light! The sun was shining brightly. He had entered the cave at four p.m. and it was now noon of the next day.
When picked up by a search party, he was a sight — ragged, bleeding, dirty and weak! He soon recovered from that ordeal, but his spiritual change could never be erased from his soul, for he was turned “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God” (Acts 26:1818To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:18)).