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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

I Will Be With You.


Have you ever heard the jokes about the light at the end of the tunnel?  You know, like the one where the guy says he finally say the light at the end of the tunnel and felt great relief, until he realized it was an oncoming train?  Or the one I like best, says, something like:  In order to help conserve energy and curb global warming, the light at the end of the tunnel is now turned off until further notice.  It’s kind of like the person who says that, knowing his luck, when his ship comes in he’ll be at the airport!  Laughing about those kinds of things can be fun, but when you are in the midst of the dark tunnel, they aren’t quite as funny.  

I don’t know about you, but I have found in the course of my life, that there are plenty of times that feel like pretty dark places now and again.  Sometimes it can be limited to one specific area of life, other times it may be how life in general feels.  I recall that while I was going through the divorce process and its aftermath, that was a really dark time.  And like the proverbial tunnel, it felt like it just went on and on and on…and sometimes there I couldn’t see any light, whether at the end of the tunnel or anywhere else!

Maybe you are reading this, and that is exactly where you are, down in that deep, dark tunnel.  I remember reading a long time ago that one thing that was learned from the experiences of soldiers in the Vietnamese prison camps was that an individual can endure almost anything as long as he or she has some sense or hope that there will be an end to it, especially when the end is in sight.  Sometimes it is hard to see that end, especially when things drag on and on, or seem to go from bad to worse.  

At the same time, there are life lessons, and God lessons, that one can only learn when in those dark times. For example, nobody ever learned endurance without having experienced something that required them to endure!  Or that you will never know God can provide for you if you never need anything.  Sometimes the lessons that are learned are lessons about what really is important in life, with the result that we adjust our priorities accordingly.  It still isn’t fun to go through the tough times, but at least there is a benefit in the long run.

One of my favorite passages in scripture is found in Isaiah 43.  Verse two says:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.”  (ESV)

I love it because, though it does not promise we won’t face tough times (in fact, it acknowledges that we definitely ARE going to), God’s promises in the verse are that we never need face them alone, and that He will put limitations on them so that, if we lean on God, they will not do us in.  Those two truths are probably the best “light at the end of the tunnel” promises we could ever find.  Today, I just want to encourage you to remember that, no matter how dark things get in your life, God will walk through them with you if you invite him to do so, and he will make sure you get through them okay.  

Hang in there…the story isn’t over, God is still working.

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