Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Somewhere along the course of human history men became the inhabitants of "man caves." Aside from comical historical recaps of the evolution of the man cave no solid record of their genesis exists. I suspect it dates back to women's frustrations with men's sloppy couch-lounging behavior. So maybe man caves have been around since the beginning of time. 
Growing up I was unfamiliar with man caves. My Dad had his own space but no one in our home called it the "man cave." We called it the basement or, when feeling humorous, the dungeon. Our walk-out basement provided the perfect retreat for the man of the house. It wasn't really a dungeon. It had windows and a sliding glass door. Thanks to my Mom's decorating it boasted a large mahogany desk complete with a leather chair. For ambiance and warmth an electric fireplace was installed in between the bookshelves filled with my Dad's vast collection of history books and Civil War memorabilia. 
In my Dad's downstairs retreat a "man cave" sign was never nailed to the wall. Thankfully my trips down the steps were never greeted by a large deer head or animal pellet, either. Dad never was a hunter. He filled the walls of his manspace with vintage tennis rackets, portraits of famous historical figures like George Washington and classic motivational posters. 
Oh, how he loved those motivational posters. You've probably seen the type. Each poster, matted with a thick black border, features a stunning piece of photography such as a soaring eagle, expansive ocean or conquering athlete. Printed below the image is a word. Opportunity. Success. Attitude. And then the famous, inspiring quote. 
Dad filled his man cave with those prints. He referred to the sentiments printed on the photographs and passed on the lessons they taught. Just the other day I came across one of those old photographs. The orange, brown and yellow of the Grand Canyon displayed a stark contrast to the rich purple of a stream cutting through rock. Below the breathtaking image of God's natural beauty read the word "perseverance" and the quote "In the confrontation between the river and the rock, the river always wins...not through strength but by perseverance."
Growing up I considered that poster, and all the others like it, downright cheesy. But as I read the quote years later and meditated on the picture after facing challenges of my own that have felt as massive and overwhelming as that Grand Canyon, the poster didn't look quite as silly. 
The poster finally conveyed to me the truth of perseverance that I had missed in my youth. I am weak, vulnerable and utterly helpless to overcome obstacles and challenges by my own insufficient power. I will only win the prize by persevering in the strength of God, pressing forward to take hold of His will for my life. 
God, the maker of the Grand Canyon, is the only one who can conquer the very barriers I am hopeless to overcome. By my own might and will I cannot defeat my life's "rocks." But I can continue to seek more of God no matter how overwhelming the boulder. I can remain faithful and obedient even in the face of trials. 
When I persevere in my seeking of God He will cut through the rocks and make a way that is brilliant and beautiful. Just like that gleaming river in the middle of the Grand Canyon, God will carve out a path for me in accordance with His will. I know that when I persist in pursing the Lord and persevere in walking His path He will surely make a way for me. 

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