Have you ever felt like you’re stuck in a tunnel and there’s no way out? You feel like your situations are entangling you and you feel defenseless by the darkness? You call out to God for help. You seek answers, but you don’t see any sign of daylight ahead? You feel trapped. Like you’ll never reach the other side. Darkness envelopes you, causing you to feel overcome by the pain.
The other day I was returning home from visiting my sister and along the trip, there’s this tunnel. I always dislike this certain tunnel since it’s so narrow and feels so constricting. I always grow anxious that I’ll make one swift move and my car will crash instantaneously, causing a 50 car pile up. Yeah, I know, I make the worst assumptions. On this particular day I was in the middle of fighting a virus so my reflexes felt impaired and my mind was in an utter fog. When I arrived at the tunnel I found that one side was blocked off and the opposing traffic and my lane were all in one tunnel together. Great, even better! There was no turning back, this was the only way home. While traveling through the tunnel I felt every fear run through my mind of what could occur. As I drove through, I waited anxiously for a sign of daylight, helping me know the end was near. With each step I felt like it was getting harder to remain focused. This tiny 3 minute tunnel felt like it was never-ending and I felt like I would never reach the end.
I think we’ve all experienced a situation that leaves us feeling handicapped by the pain or trapped in our despair. At times it may feel like we’re being controlled by our situations, like we have no way out. No escape and no hope. The farther along we get into our “tunnels,” the darker it seems and the more we await for some sign of hope. Let me tell you, it’s hard to keep pressing on when we we have no hope.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
As we see in Jeremiah 29:11, God desires to establish plans to help prosper us. We may perceive plans that prosper us as experiencing good days full of bright sunshine, but God sees things differently. Sometimes the best way to help us prosper is by enduring through the darkest of times. If you notice at the end of the verse, God desires us to have hope. He wants us to be hopeful for the future He has in store for our lives. I don’t think God ever intended us to be fearful or discouraged with our future. He wants us to have hope for what awaits for us, because no matter how our lives turn out, when we are trusting God, we know God is doing something great in and through us.
Sometimes the road feels so long and we can’t seem to see any way out. I’m here to tell you that God always makes a way. I finally reached the end of the tunnel that day and made it to the other side, you probably already assumed that since I’m writing this post. Just as God helped me get through the tunnel that day, as trivial as it was, I know He will help you in the place you’re in too. I can’t count the times when I’ve felt trapped, forsaken and surrounded by darkness. While God always didn’t provide a way out in the way I wanted, and certainly not the timing I desired, it taught me something greater than an immediate answer to my prayers. It taught me reliance. In the tunnel that day, my impairment from my sickness and the fear of what could happen, allowed me to turn to God for help. Something I honestly would not have done without having difficulty, and I wouldn’t have seen His provision without experiencing my weaknesses.
When circumstances break my heart and I feel forsaken and alone, I’ve found myself seeking God in a deeper way than when my life goes how I planned. Maybe by enduring through a dark season, God is allowing you to touch others who you maybe couldn’t have reached without suffering. Life’s tunnels may be dark, uncertain, prolonged and painful, but they are opportunities for us to discover God in a whole new light. Our suffering here can prepare us for our greatest victory. When we’ve finally reached the end, God will have never seemed closer and daylight will have never seemed so bright and glorious!