Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Longest Tunnel

Recently, our family headed to the fabulous vista, Glacier Point, to view Half-Dome and the Yosemite Valley. On the way, we encountered a tunnel I didn't recall from the past. Funneling through the dark cave and seated in the passenger seat, I pulled out my new camera to take a moving picture. Peering through the viewfinder toward the small light at the end of the tunnel, I waited for the exit. Instead, my wait turned to wonder, "This is the longest tunnel I've ever been in!" I exclaimed aloud.

The light stayed small and the walls remained dark. Even though we were driving, it seemed we were moving without progress.

Similarly in life, sometimes we encounter unexpected tunnels on our way to a destination. Tunnel experiences vary. Bills come in, but finances stay the same. Resumes go out, the phone remains silent or the email inbox remains empty. The sun can rise every day but our minds feel overcast, day in, day out.

How do we get through the tunnels in life? We keep our eye on the light. We rely on God and continue to relinquish our plans and timing.

Once during my first career, I was searching for a job during an impacted market - they were laying off nurses. Finally, an opportunity came. I interviewed with the manager and afterward questioned RNs in her department who informed me of her negative impact. When she offered me a job, I promptly declined.

"God, I cannot work for a screamer," I reasoned to the Lord.

But the Holy Spirit nudged me and I felt unsettled until I called back and accepted the position. Only God knew she would leave in two months and then be replaced with a sweet, competent manager we all loved. The job was a blessing.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

But to trust in God we must stay in His Word to build our faith, so we grow to learn His voice and His ways.

Amy Carmichael shares a missionary story from India in her book, Candles in the Dark. She was climbing at night in a black forest using a lantern and holding it very low near her feet, so as not to slip on the rocks. She explains, "We walk spiritually by hand lantern, not by electric light. And a lantern only shows the next step - not several ahead. If the next step is clear - take it. Don't worry about the steps beyond you can't see yet."

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105 (ESV)

God also provides strength for today, for right now, this minute. He is the God who carries us from strength to strength as Psalms 84:5-7 describes pilgrims passing through a dry land. We cannot pull strength for the month, the week, or the evening. Our great, I Am, provides strength for the present as we step out and dance in the moment with Him leading us. We are safe, we are clear, and we are living with our full potential as much as we can wherever we are on our journey in the tunnel. The exit will come.

The moment we exited the tunnel at Yosemite, suddenly, all was colorful and beautiful and focused. In a sudden burst of light, we gazed at a glorious blue sky and majestic lodgepoles edging a paved road winding up before us to our final destination. The tunnel was behind us.

"You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light" Psalm 18:28 (NIV)

Copyright Dee Aspin, used with permission.

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