Give me a word, Lord: DON’T LIVE IN THE TUNNEL. LIVE IN THE LIGHT!

John 1:9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

1 John 1:5-7 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

Isaiah 25:1 O Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them.

Many moons ago, when I was a young girl, my daddy and step-mom would load all six of us girls up and take us to Gulf Shores, AL, for summer vacation. We would rent a big house right on the beach and share the home with my parents’ friends and families. Those were definitely some of the good old days. We enjoyed endless days of sunshine and salt water, seashell searching, crab chasing, game playing, and relaxation. There was no specific itinerary or agenda. Gulf Shores has grown over the years that have passed since my childhood, but it is still a very special place to me. It always reminds me of a time that we slowed down and took time to enjoyed the precious little things in life.

We traveled to Gulf Shores by car, and to get there from our home we had to go through Mobile, AL, and after passing through Mobile, we had to drive through the George C. Wallace Tunnel. I’m sure in comparison to other tunnels, it isn’t that impressive, but as a child, this tunnel made a great impression on me. It seemed huge, and it was quite scary to realize that we were underneath a very large body of water. I remember wondering what would happen if the tunnel sprang a leak while we were passing through. This tunnel appeared large to this child, yet at the same time it seemed restrictive and there was an overwhelming sense of confinement. Although lit by man made light, it seemed dark, and it also seemed to be very, very long. I remember mixed emotions from those of fear to excitement about being able to go through the tunnel. It was always a great relief to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Lately, I feel like I’ve been driving through a very long tunnel. I’m not that scared little girl anymore, but still I feel the overwhelming sense of confinement. Almost a year ago, we became aware of the COVID-19 virus. As the first information began to unfold before us in the field of medicine, we were unsure of how bad this was going to be and how long it was going to last. Reflecting back, I now see that the virus has turned out to be much bigger, darker, and restrictive than I had ever imagined. I feel like we are driving through a very long, very dark tunnel. I spend my days in PPE, diagnosing patients with this dreaded virus, counseling survivors who have lost loved ones, crying with them, and praying continually. It has definitely been a very difficult season, not only for the health care provider though. It has been a difficult season for the world.

This dreadful virus has created frustrations that seem to be never ending. I feel like I’m trapped in the middle of the tunnel, and I want out. I want to put my foot on the accelerator and race to the end of the tunnel. I want to see the light! I have prayed many of Psalms through this season. O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced. Save me, for you do what is right. Turn your ear to listen to me; rescue me quickly. Be my rock of protection, a fortress where I will be safe. You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress. Tears blur my eyes. My body and soul are withering away. I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!” My future is in your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly. Let your favor shine on your servant. In your unfailing love, rescue me. (Psalm 31:1-3, 9, 14-16)

I have called out to God through this trial. I want to hurry up and get to the end of this whole mess. I want to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve realized that I can’t just keep looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. It apparently isn’t going to shine on me anytime in the near future. My prayer now is for Christ to shine His light brightly while I’m in the tunnel. Rather than wishing my way out of this tunnel, I’m going to lift my eyes to Christ while I sit here in the middle of it. As a child, I admit that I was a bit afraid of the tunnel, but I knew that my Daddy was driving and eventually, he was going to drive me right out of that tunnel to the other side. Once we reached the other side, it was just a short distance more to paradise in a little town called Gulf Shores. As an adult, I admit today that I am a little bit afraid of this tunnel I’m in, but I know that my heavenly Daddy is driving and eventually, He is going to drive me right out of this tunnel to the other side. And once we reach the other side, it will be just a short little distance more to travel before I finally reach paradise in a place called heaven!

If you are in a dark tunnel today, don’t try to speed up and rush your way out. It is our human nature to want to get to the end of the tunnel to see the light, but all we really need to do is invite the Light into the tunnel! We are all in a tunnel, but we don’t have to live there. Let’s live in the light!

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