“He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps” (Psalm 40:2 NKJV).
Nickajack Cave, thirty miles from Chattanooga, was an underground warren where Cash had previously searched for Indian arrowheads and inscriptions left by Confederate soldiers. The story goes that Cash decided to crawl into the cave and keep going until his flashlight flickered out (so he wouldn’t be able to find his way back out if he lost his nerve), then lie there and die. Cash claimed that after three hours he had descended a mile into the cave. That’s when his flashlight died, and he hoped to follow suit.
“I lay down to die in the total darkness,” he recalled, beseeching God to take him away.
But all of a sudden, he said, he was suffused with a powerful, peaceful sensation, a comforting warmth. Then he heard the voice of God tell him to get up and get out of here—He wasn’t ready for Cash to die just yet.
Cash said it took hours of crawling in the dark to find his way out, and that when he emerged from the mouth of Nickajack Cave, he collapsed. When he awoke, June Carter and his friend were there. He promised them he was finally going to hand it over to the Lord.
Johnny started attending church services again, where he heard the gospel and told the reverend that he was thirsty for “living water.” It would replenish his wasted body and spirit, and no more would he defile either with drugs—at least for a while.
1. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. (Psalm 40:2)
Describe a time when you reached “rock bottom.” What did the Lord teach you through that experience?
2. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Who makes the choice between life and death?
3. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:11)
Where can we find hope when our soul is cast down?
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Johnny Cash’s life is loaded with examples of God’s extreme mercy, overwhelming love, and unexpected grace. It demonstrates that no matter how many times we regress, relapse, or revert to old sins, God stands ready to welcome back His sons and daughters as a loving heavenly Father. Read about Johnny’s life in my new book!
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