My grandchildren play a game while driving through tunnels when traveling: they hold their breath from the time they enter until they leave the tunnel. They think it is fun.
Quite frankly, I have never been particularly fond of tunnels. While at times they may be unavoidable, like on a road trip, I do not voluntarily enter a tunnel unless I can see the light at the other end.
I am reminded of the year my husband, Jim, and I traveled to Hawaii with family members. On the agenda one day was a climb to the top of a mountain where we would have a great view of much of the island. All went well until we reached a point where we had to walk through a tunnel. Unable to see the light at the other end, I opted to stay behind. Then Jim lovingly extended his hand and offered to guide me safely through to the other end. Trusting him, I began the journey, almost holding my breath like my grandchildren going through a tunnel in the car ― but my breath-holding was more out of fear than for diversion.
Years ago, a friend of mine who had lost her husband shared that for her, widowhood sometimes felt like going through a tunnel without being able to see the light at the other end.
Today marks the second anniversary of my own widowhood. Actually, it did not feel like a tunnel experience for me during the first year. Perhaps it was because my attention was so focused on adjusting to my new status and then treating and recovering from breast cancer. Even the first half of the second year was filled with new goals and adventures.
Then it suddenly hit me one day a few months ago: I was beginning to feel like I was going through a tunnel, struggling to see the light at the end―the same tunnel other widows had told me about. “Wait a minute, Harriet,” I said to myself. “For you as a believer, even though you may feel right now like you are going through a dark, directionless, and endless tunnel, there is always light at the end of it for you.”
I was reminded that God uses the tunnel experiences of life to help me grow in my faith. In Job 23:10, we read these words: “But He knows the way that I take: When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Sometimes God uses them to teach me to trust in His goodness. “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage. And He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:13-14).
Other times, I learn to depend upon Him to lead me. “Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with your counsel and afterward receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:23-24).
Ultimately, as a believer, there is always light at the end of the tunnel because of the hope I have in Christ: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Not only do I have hope in His purposes in the day-in-day-out experiences of my life, but I have hope for an eternal future with Him. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away; reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1: 3).
And so I continue to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7), in trust and dependence upon Him and allowing Him to lead me, knowing that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1).
I have hope, because He knows where He is taking me and what He is doing in and through my life. He has promised to be with me and to guide me now, and to one day receive me in glory to be with Him forever.