Stuck in a Tunnel

Feb 11, 2024 525

Stuck in a Tunnel

When my son was younger, he and I were visiting Italy. We traveled by train from Rome to the town of Orvieto, a beautiful town on a hill.

On the way back, we went through several long tunnels. And in the middle of a tunnel, the train stopped and most of the lights went out. Just like that we were sitting in near darkness. There was no announcement… nothing. 

There was an Italian lady sitting in the seat facing my son and I, and I could see that she was having trouble coping with the situation.

At first she started fidgeting. Then she started looking anxiously around. And then she started saying, “My God, my God!” in Italian. I was worried that she was going to hyperventilate!

I did my best to calm her down using the little Italian I knew, until a very long time later, the lights came back on and the train started moving. Eventually it emerged out of the tunnel. It was a long tunnel!

Dark tunnels have been around for a long time.

For many people this is what life is like. You’re travelling along, enjoying the view, thinking you’re going to where you want to be. Then, suddenly you enter a tunnel, the train stops, and the lights go out.

That dark tunnel can be many different things. It can be a period of depression in which everything seems dark and hopeless in your life. It can be a time of mourning, when deepest sadness has you in its unrelenting grip. It can simply be a time when nothing seems to go right, and you are smashed by one problem after another.

Dark tunnels have been around for a long time. One of the oldest stories in the Bible is actually about a character who spent a long time in a dark tunnel. His name was Job. He lost his money, his family, and his health. In the book that bears his name, we see Job goes through the whole range of human emotions, including grief and even being angry at God.

Eventually Job does come out of his dark tunnel. But one striking feature about Job’s story is that he never does understand why he was in the dark tunnel in the first place. It’s not as if Job can say at the end of it, “Well, I certainly learnt a lot from my experience. I’m a much better man for it all.” That never happened at all!

You won’t be in a tunnel forever.

You might be in a dark tunnel in your life right now. Perhaps you don’t understand why. Perhaps you can’t see the end of the tunnel at all. If that’s you today, then here are some suggestions for you to consider as you navigate your dark tunnel. They are suggestions that I’ve found helpful in my own life:

1. Be Gentle On Yourself

It’s normal to be afraid of the dark, of the unknown, of those things outside of your control. Don’t beat yourself up. Remember to do the important things, eat, drink, and rest.

Remember that all of your anxiety won’t get you to the end of the tunnel sooner. Like that day when I was on the train with my son, sometimes you just have to wait for the train to get moving again.

2. Be Careful with the Decisions You Make

Decisions made in dark tunnels may not always be the best decisions. Your mind might be crying out to you to do something, anything at all, but that could be just the fear talking. The best decisions are often made in the full light of day, instead of when you are most stressed and when you don’t have the full picture.

There may be decisions that you can actually make to help you get out of the tunnel. And there may be some very urgent decisions you do need to make, especially if you or someone else is in danger. However, try to evaluate those decisions very carefully.

Try, if possible, to leave important decisions until you come out of the tunnel into the light.

3. Hold On to Hope

As often as it’s been said, it’s still true that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. You won’t be in the tunnel forever. No matter how dark your tunnel may be, there will be the opportunity for freedom and happiness in the future.

If it were just up to you, holding on to hope would be difficult. But Jesus can hold on to you. You can trust in him. You can put your hope in him. When you do that, he will always be able to get you out of the place where you are stuck.

Eliezer Gonzalez

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