There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel…only it very often ends up a train. It’s always darkest…before it goes completely black. Ha ha, these are funny misquotes…and funny because many not only believe it to be true but have lived it. Yes, it’s defeatist. Yes, it lacks hope. Yes, it doesn’t spur one on to perseverance and great things. Yes, it often needs to be said so that you don’t feel alone. You feel like someone else has been there.
It may be true. I’ve seen some dark times that only got darker. I’ve often thought that “it’ was almost over and then it got worse. I’ve been to the bottom and would have loved to be only 3/4 of the way down. I’ve had people tell me that it was all for a purpose, that bad things happen to good people, that people have it worse, that hope is right around the corner and even to offer up my sufferings for those who suffer as well.
Bah! What I remember more were those who got down into my muck and mire and wept with me. I distinctly remember those that poured their heart out with me. I remember and was impacted by those that shared my experience, felt my pain.
Someone came up to me at church last Sunday and poured their heart out. They were crushed for themselves and for a loved one. They had been through so much and found out that the solution may entail more hardship. They weren’t emotionally spent, but they didn’t have much at all left in the tank. There was a manic despair and sadness present. Myself and another held their hand and teared. We joined them in their emotion. We tried hard to not let them feel alone.
Then, after the service I found that person and said this, “Look, I was sad with you earlier and I still am. I met you where you were not let me be a Pastor. You have more. You don’t think that you do but you do. There’s more to you than you would have ever imagined and you’ll find it within you. Then, when there is nothing left…you’ll find Jesus there. Nobody wants to find Jesus in that way but He will be there for you.” They slapped me in the face and told me to go to….no, I’m just kidding about that part. It was received well (much as I know).
I say this because it’s true…and important. I have not been as close to God as when Trey was in his darkest moments. I have not felt the presence of God as intimately as when I poured my heart out to Him in worship during those times. He has not left me nor I Him, it’s just different now…for now.
In the Old Testament, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (none of the three names would Rachel let me name any of our children) were persecuted for their faith. Harassed, threatened, arrested, shackled and thrown into a fiery furnace, the “Son of the Gods” only showed up when they were IN the fire. When Stephen was BEING stoned (literally, not hallucinogenically…c’mon) he looked up and saw “The Son of Man.” I’m not saying that this is the only time you can experience God. I’m just saying that when you are in the fire…He is there as well.
So, as you go deeper and deeper into the tunnel, as things get darker and darker, look for Him. Yeah, I’d rather see Him in a sunset, a child’s eyes, a double rainbow, but when we find ourselves in the most peril there is hope. There is a sense that there is more. God does care for you. He is not without notice of your pain. He is not caught off guard by your circumstance. He cares for you. He is there.