Tunnels Revisited

Over a year ago as I walked through the dark tunnel of chemotherapy, I wrote about my tunnels. Months later I entered that blog as a possible submission to Proverbs 31 Ministries to be used in their radio broadcast. It was one of several selected, and last week it aired as a short encouragement on the radio waves all over the United States. You can listen to it here. And while you’re there, go to Proverbs 31 Ministries and check out the wonderful encouragements they offer.

The following post was originally published on November 1, 2007

Corrie ten Boom wrote:

“When the train goes through a tunnel and the world becomes dark, do you jump out? Of course not. You sit still and trust the engineer to get you through.”

At some point in life, our worlds become dark. I look around at my friends and family. I read and watch the news. I hear stories from old college or high school buddies. I walk into a store or onto JMU’s campus or even to church. I look at faces and it hits like a brick wall. We all have tunnels in our lives.

For some it is a short tunnel where the light at the end is clearly seen. For others its long and dark. Some might find their lives are one long tunnel while others have frequent short ones. For some there are lights in their tunnel; for others the darkness is suffocating.

Just because I am going through my tunnel and my darkness doesn’t mean the train stops. It doesn’t mean other trains aren’t running. Others are in pain, too. In my own life–my sweet Audrey with her broken arm, my grandfather hospitalized earlier this week, Brian trying to manage with his wife’s cancer, Micah’s fear of darkness and nightmares, even Asher’s allergies…that is their pain; their tunnel.

There is so much pain as I look at the world surrounding me–chronic health problems, the loss of parents or spouses or children or siblings or grandparents or cousins, depression, conflict, family members suffering, couples unable to get pregnant, miscarriages, singles longing for marriage and still waiting, unexplained tragedies, job loss, financial struggles and so much more. We all have our tunnels, even if it’s just one week in bed with the flu.

My gut reaction is to run from pain–run far away from it–whether it’s mine or someone else’s. Being real about my pain means being vulnerable. Being real and caring about someone else’s pain means taking a risk. Pain is real. Pain is hard. Pain is ugly. Pain is isolating. Pain is the result of living in a fallen world. Pain is one of Satan’s tools to try to destroy us.

I have learned much about pain by experiencing my own, and I have been convicted, blessed, astonished, hurt, encouraged, and overwhelmed with it all. We all handle our pain differently, but one thing is certain–we all need relationship in our lives. We all need to know someone cares. It is so comforting to hear a simple “I care” from others, and it is such a blessing to say a simple “I care” to others. Ultimately, though, I find the real peace comes in knowing that God cares even more than I can begin to comprehend. He whispers it every day to me in His Word.

I would be foolish to jump off my train into the darkness. Although there are days when I think in my sinful self-reliance that I can do this on my own, one step off that train into the darkness would lead to confusion and chaos. I would lose my way so quickly, unsure of which direction to head, wondering what lay at the side of the tracks, and the fear would consume me.

So I cling to the seat in my train, and I know my Engineer won’t make a mistake. He knows right where I’m heading. My train won’t crash or derail. In fact, some days I make my way to the dining car, and on the menu I see Psalm 16, “He has assigned me my portion and my cup; my lot is secure.” And I feast like a hedon from the portion and cup He has given me–a very full plate of blessings. Other times I go to my sleeping berth, and I find that His “yoke is easy and his burden is light”, and there I find rest for my soul. There are days when I just sit in my seat, holding on for dear life and weeping as I watch the darkness outside the window. Sometimes, I go and I sit in the engine at the feet of the Engineer, and I listen to His voice reassuring me that He loves me and “nothing can separate me from that love”. And I stay on my train.

I have fear, yes, but I have no doubt, because He who promised is faithful, and one day I will reach my destination safe in the arms of my Engineer. It will be a place where there will be no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears… and there I will rejoice with all the others who’ve ridden through their tunnels in Christ alone.

No guilt in life; no fear in death.
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand.
Till He returns or calls me home;
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.
(Keith Getty & Stuart Townend)

5 responses to “Tunnels Revisited”

  1. Wonderful analogy.

    Hope you are all feeling better today Angie.

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  2. WOW…as I sit here on my own train, in my own dark tunnel..I am blessed yet once again by you! Even in your darkest moments you seem to be able to dig deep and share and express your thoughts, feelings and emotions~which in return blesses SOOOO many people. Me for sure, that I know. The more I come to know you Angie, the more I love you~praying God in His wonderful grace and goodness will hold you up and hold you close. Love you, Jan
    p.s. Was WONDERFUL to see you while in VA =)

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  3. Angie, I remember that post. It really ministered to me then, and it still resonates with me. Thanks for your sweet words.

    Love you!
    Sarah

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  4. Okay, I am disappointed. I thought it would be more of a direct reading or quotes from your post. Oh well… Thanks for reposting “Tunnels.”

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  5. Angie, this was so moving to me. I’m rereading Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul Tripp, and your entry reminds me of these words:
    “The good news of the kingdom is not freedom from hardship, suffering, and loss. It is the news of a Redeemer who has come to rescue me from myself. His rescue produces change that fundamentally alters my response to these inescapable realities. The Redeemer turns rebels into disciples, fools into humble listeners…In him we can face life and respond with faith, love, and hope. And as he changes us, he allows us to be part of what he is doing in the lives of others. As you respond to the Redeemer’s work in your life, you can learn to be an instrument in his hands.”
    Thank you for being an instrument in his hands for me today through your blog. We love you and are praying much for you.

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