What matters most is not the darkness entering the tunnel, but the promise of light that waits on the other end.
Tunnels and kids…
I remember the anticipation and thrill of riding through tunnels when I was a kid. Looking back, I don’t know which part was the most exciting…driving down into a hole in the ground, or the lights, or trying to be the first one to get a glimpse of the light at the other end. Maybe it was just the idea of riding under buildings, streets, and sometimes, water that made it so exciting! I’d always ask my Dad to drive a little slower so the experience would last a bit longer…he’d always laugh, but he never slowed down…at least, not enough for me.
I can’t remember what I thought of tunnels when I was really young, say as an infant or a toddler, but I can remember what my sons Brian and Christian experienced the first time they entered a tunnel: absolute PANIC! The same thing happened (three years apart) with both of them…toolin’ down the road, lookin’ out the window…enjoying the view…sudden darkness… “Waaaahhhhh!!!”
It’s funny how they both reacted to the darkness of the tunnel in the exact same way. I wonder if I did the same the first time I went into a tunnel.
The sad thing was that because of their age, I couldn’t make them understand that the darkness was only temporary. My assurances that everything was gonna’ be okay were drowned out by their terrified screams. In both instances I sped up as much as I could, pushing onward toward the light at the other end. And in both instances, Brian and Christian stopped crying the moment we exited the tunnel!
Tunnels and adults…
It’s been a long time since I experienced that “We’re gonna go in a tunnel! Slow down and blow the horn Dad!” rush I got when I was a kid (I’m fifty-seven now, so perhaps I should say that it’s been a really long time!). But you know what? I still get that tingling sensation when I drive through a tunnel, especially one that I’ve never been in before. Of course, there’s no element of fear…I know what waits at the other end…better yet; I know that there is the other end…
Have you figured out where I’m going with this?
I want to talk about the “mental tunnels” that we enter as adults. Unlike clearly visible tunnels that lie ahead as we drive in our cars, these mental ones come out of nowhere. There are no signs saying Tunnel ahead. Turn on lights. Drive with caution. No flashing lights. No nothing. You’re cruising through life, enjoying the ride, taking in the view, and BAM…you’re in a tunnel…in the darkness.
Of course there are many kinds of mental tunnels, including, but not limited to, anxiety, anger, indecision, depression, hopelessness, loneliness, and despair. Much like traditional tunnels, they are east to enter. Unlike traditional tunnels, these are quite often very, very hard to get out of.
What do you do when you find yourself in one of these tunnels?
Ironically, I believe that at times many of us are so blinded by the darkness that envelops us that we can’t even see a speck of a light that’s always there; God’s light.
I feel the need to interject something here…
I’m going to share this based on the assumption that you’re reading this post…visiting this blog…because you’re a Christian…or perhaps you believe in God, but you haven’t accepted Christ in your life yet…or perhaps you’re just curious. In any case, you’re always welcome here. And on the premise that my assumptions are correct, I’ll move on…
I think that there are many “believers” who look upon atheists (those who don’t believe in God) with a sense of disdain, almost as if they were second-class citizens.
I actually pity them. Why? Who does an atheist turn to for comfort, strength, hope, direction, etc? All the things that, in their purest form, only God can provide me for me.
Sorry…back to the subject at hand…
So what do you do when you find yourself in a tunnel?
You turn to God (if you’re not already seeking His face). You pray (if you’re not already praying). You ask God to help you (if you haven’t already asked.) You pray some more.
“I’ve already done that, and it hasn’t worked. I don’t know what else to do.” Sound familiar?
Try something else!
Like what? Talk to a friend. Seek the counsel of your Pastor. Talk to another friend.
Well, for some of us, this is easier said than done. Sometimes our ego gets in the way of reaching out for assistance. I believe that many of us would rather try to find our own way out of the darkness, even though we may not have the slightest clue as to what we should do or where we should go. And I’ll go ahead and say it: I think that men have the hardest time swallowing their pride and asking for advice, all the while knowing that someone may just have the solution to the problem. Go figure…
They grope in the darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards. JOB 12:25
I have this theory that I want to run by you…
Quite often when we are enduring a particular hardship in life we tend to think that God is trying to teach us one of life’s lessons…something that we need to learn to be a better person…something that just hasn’t “sunk in”…
Do you think that maybe, just maybe, one of the lessons that He’s trying to teach us is to reach out to others for help? That maybe the way out of the tunnel and out of the darkness is found through a friend? That the light that we so desperately seek, God’s light, may be found in the eyes or in the voice of the person sitting directly across from us? That the real lesson is not about finances, or relationships, or anger, but about surrendering?
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of the darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 CORINTHIANS 4:6 (NIV)
The bottom line…
What we must remember is that God’s light never goes out…He never turns it off. Ever. It doesn’t even have a dimmer switch! It’s always there for us, burning brighter than the sun. I don’t know how we could possibly lose sight of it, or how we could lose sight of Him, but we do.
When you find yourself in one of those tunnels…lost…alone…desperate…don’t expect the light at other end of it to come looking for you! Pray. Seek His face. Pray some more. Seek the face of a friend. Do whatever you have to do to get out. Never settle for the darkness. Never give up.
You see, it’s not just the promise of any light at the end of the tunnel…it is the promise God’s light, and it is unlike any other!
See you next week!