Out of the Tunnel

 

Recently, I fractured my left wrist and now my left arm is in a cast up to my elbow; it itches; it hurts.    A few weeks ago, I suffered an extremely hard fall in my home, which resulted in the most damage done to the wrist.  Have you ever attempted to do a simple chore like washing out a coffee pot every morning with one hand?  Almost impossible along with a sundry of other daily activities.  My impatience is also on trial these days.   When the cast is removed after one month’s duration, my doctor has already told me that I would have to wear a brace afterwards.  I felt, therefore, like I was going to be in a tunnel for a substantial amount of time and all I could hear was the echo of my limitations and lament.     

 

Enter my cousin Carol Park—a spunky, attractive, outgoing, godly gal, who also fractured her wrist two years ago.  She is if anything one consistent encourager and cheerleader for me as she never wavers in her upbeat attitude that God has this as her wrist healed without any observable residual effects and so will mine. “Give it time,” she advised.…time?  To be gracious and accommodating to time is like watching paint dry to my impatient persona, and yet I had no choice since I have been stymied and straight-jacketed by a non-functioning arm and it is the Christmas season no less… 

 

All of us, in some degree or manner and at some point in our lives, will feel the effects of a non-functioning aspect of our mind, soul, or body.  Unexpected injuries, loneliness, dealing with a necessary but difficult relationship, meeting the relentless expectations of others, a prolonged illness, a friend’s sudden distance or betrayal, the effects of aging on our own bodies and those of our loved ones, a sense of rejection—our general lists of lament can grow exponentially when given voice and citation to them.  Better labeled as the human condition, the journey through the tunnel can become long, lifeless, and palpably lonely, especially when we feel there is no one to greet us at the tunnel’s exit, let alone encourage us as we stumble through the darkened corridor because of our present siege of pain.  

 

To be found or forced into a darkened tunnel for a prolonged period of time, therefore, mandates that the distractions and din of our lives move out as reflection and reality inevitably creep in and overtake our space.

Once we settle down, take a long, deep breath, and quiet our spirits we will realize that the Healer is accomplishing several spiritually-strengthening positives through our pain.  Self-sufficiency/dependency/reliance and pride are tossed in a heap to the side of the tunnel lest we trip over them again.  Whether we are immobilized by a physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual cast, we at the time perhaps do not realize it, but we are still being healed from a fractured wrist to a fractured relationship as God resets bones and realigns our brokenness into wholeness by our stillness, silence as we sit mainly at His feet.

 

If we are submissive and honest with ourselves and God, we will also be forced to re-examine our tree of spiritual fruitfulness, which pain and darkness usually flashlights into our souls, whether we like it or not.   If we cannot pick patience, faithfulness, peace, or self-control from it, the Gardner of our souls will this time toss us a spade and gently remind us we need to retill the ground.  Thus, our trees are being pruned, our faith, in the process, could be dug to a deeper and richer level, and time and trust could be planted unequivocally for our Healer to do His work in our lives until we realize that our pain has changed us and our tears of brokenness have been dried by the Son.  Ann Graham Lotz states it this way: There are times when God cuts everything out of our lives except our relationship to Jesus and in the process our connection to the Vine is enlarged and fruit is produced…

 

Slowly, then, strength begins to return not only to our spiritual legs but to our changed spirits: we have thus determined to fight for a fuller and more consistent relationship with our Lord regardless of pain, personal travails, and prolonged problems that the reflective and darkenedsilence of the tunnel taught us.  Gingerly, we stand erect, and begin running again our personal race. Through the tunnel we run picking up speed as the quickened thuds of our footsteps become louder and faster.  Little do we realize that at the exit, the heavenly balconies are packed with witnesses craning their necks toward the exit as they await our emergence along with the earthly cousin Carols in our lives, who are encouraging us on, as we finally exit from the tunnel to thunderous applause, deafening cheers, blazing light...

 

The Babe of Bethlehem also proved by example how He empathized with our human condition and emerged as well from His tunnel-like tomb of not only unspeakable pain but death itself to redeem us. This time we can rejoice and reflect on another carol of the Christmas season, which on the most holiest of nights resounds that: The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger, In all our trials born to be our friend as we indeed fall on our knees, hear the angel voices, and with an overflowing heart of connection worship Him……      

Guest Blogger
Lorraine Montanari