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Into the tunnel

Into the tunnel

Traffic is moderate on the dreaded I-95 when my phone reminds me to pay attention. The industrial landscape around Baltimore did not look very promising for a post. But then, ahead, I saw it.

A tunnel. Heading under the Patapsco River. As I entered its yawning mouth, I mused on spiritual tunnels.

What are they, in essence? They’re segments on a journey that require us to lose connection with the outside world. No sky. No horizon. In our technological age, they snip our digital umbilical cord as our GPS wonders what happened to us. It puts Waze in a daze.

There’s an element of trust in a tunnel. Trust that it is safe. Trust that it will come out in the right place. We trust because we give up our ability to see the bigger picture.


David knew about such times. Psalm 23 comes to mind when he talks about the “valley of the shadow of death.” A commentator I read suggested a more accurate reading is “the valley of the deepest darkness.” Darkness in Scripture represents an experience of life without the light of the presence of God. In that psalm, David says that even when he goes through a time when it seems that God is nowhere near, he knows that God is with him.

I am fascinated by how many great Biblical men and women went through times of confusion and uncertainty, when God presented them with a passage where they simply had to trust in his wisdom and vision for their direction.

It’s no surprise that we, also, experience such subterranean channels. I can think of friends who face uncertain futures at work, or times of loneliness, or health struggles. Any time of great challenge could be described as a faith tunnel.

As I emerge from the other side into the startling sunlight, I realize anew that such underpasses help us do the impossible. We just traveled under water! We just drove through a mountain!  

Tunnels in our lives are not simply a time of testing. By faith, they help us do the impossible.

Lord God, you are the engineer who designed my road through life. Help me to trust in your plan even when that gaping tunnel mouth looms ahead. And I pray for those who are going through those disorienting times of challenge. Let them know that you are with them, no matter how deep underground they go.

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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