“Due to recent cutbacks, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.”
When I spotted this sign in a store recently, I couldn’t help but think it was a perfect description of my life 7 years ago. Life was bleak back then. My husband and I were in the middle of a grief journey so intense I wondered if the pain would ever end. The light at the end of the tunnel had indeed been turned off.
Grief has a way of hiding the light. If you’ve just begun a grief journey, you may have a difficult time finding the light. You’re not alone. The psalmist’s life was so full of troubles that he felt trapped and declared that “Darkness is my closest friend” (Psalm 88:18). In Psalm 143, David described his grief this way: “My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave. I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear” (vv. 3-4).
Maybe you, like David, feel like you’re living in darkness. The light at the end of your tunnel has been turned off. It’s an awful place to be. I remember. But you know what? You don’t have to be able to see, because God is with you and to Him, “the night shines as bright as day” (Ps. 139:12). When you can’t see, you can trust your Heavenly Father to show you the way.
If you’re in the midst of your grief journey and you find that life is filled with a deluge of disappointments, you may identify more with another version of the light at the end of the tunnel: There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s an oncoming freight train. Oh my, how I can identify. Friends hear about your grief journey and promise to call but never do. One job possibility after another evaporates before your eyes until you don’t think you can bear another rejection. You’re tired of getting run over by a freight train. Maybe it’s better to just sit down in the tunnel and stay there.
The prophet Elijah tried to give up and stop. And he did stop for a time. First Kings 19:4 tells us that after a particularly difficult encounter with the royals of the land, he ran for his life. Literally. Eventually “He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayer that he might die. ‘I’ve had enough, Lord,’ he said.” The Lord let him rest but ultimately He got Elijah back on his feet and gave him a new perspective. Eventually, the light at the end of Elijah’s tunnel came back on.
If the light at the end of your tunnel appears to be off, I pray that it comes on again soon. In the meantime, listen to Toby Mac’s song “Move (Keep Walkin’)” and gain strength to take the next steps. They don’t have to be big steps. They can be baby steps. But keep walkin’.
TobyMac Move (Keep Walkin’)