Karst landscape, Waitomo District, King Country
Parts of the King Country exhibit the unique and interesting Karst limestone features. Just as interesting as the rocky outcrops on the surface are the limestone caves underground. Given the water soluble nature of limestone, the wet climate has carved many subterranean wonders over thousands of years.
It's not the sort of place where you should stumble around at night if you get lost on a farm. Who knows what hole you might fall into? I have a still vivid memory of caving on a farm around Piopio and coming across an unfortunate dead sheep which had fallen down a tomo to its death.
We too have a surface landscape and a hidden landscape in our lives. We can curate and decorate the outer surfaces of life, and often we spend a lot of time and energy on this. The physical body and the lifestyles we have developed are testimony to this. Our homes and possessions, our hobbies and passions, are visible to others. So much of our culture takes a materialistic approach, and people may praise us or judge us based on what they see manifested in our lives.
However, we have a subterranean, hidden life as well, which may be not so obvious to others. Yet the outer features of our life rest on what lies beneath. I've heard cavers talk about sport caves and art caves. Sport caves require a cross between gymnastics and climbing to squeeze and shimmy your way forward through the cave. It's hard work. Art caves are places where you can see the beauty of stalagmites and stalactites, glow worms and other wonders. Both have their value, and sometimes you get both on the same trip.
Let us cultivate what lies beneath. Our outer life is important, but our inner life, though it may require much strenuous work, can also be a thing of beauty. We see God in the solitude of the inner life, as our prayer journey grows with inner maturity in Christ.
Apostle Paul reminds us; 'for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.' (Col 3:3) Let us cultivate that inner, hidden life, then the outer life is on a firm foundation.