I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark.” John 12:46
Hi Grits Family! Hey, my wife Judy and I are going to be “out of pocket” aka “not available” to write this week—on another great adventure. We decided to send out some of our past stories. I hope you enjoy the ones we selected and look forward to some “fresh Grits” next week. God bless. Bro. Dewayne
There’s light at the end of the tunnel. I have heard that saying all my life (well, at least a chunk of it). But the truth is the light at the end of the tunnel just might not be enough. You see, about 20 miles from where we live, there is a bike trail with a tunnel that is 543 feet long. It’s located in beautiful Southern Illinois. Oh, I know, I say beautiful and Illinois in the same sentence and all people can think of is flat corn fields and Chicago. But tucked away in what we call the “real” Southern Illinois are many trails with beautiful hills and rock bluffs in the Shawnee National Forest.
Tunnel Hill Trail is a gem in our area and perhaps the highpoint of the trail is its tunnel. Our church has an annual bike ride that begins at the tunnel. At its peak we would have over a hundred riders—big and little, young, and old. What makes it even better, the small town of Vienna (where we have our picnic) is only ten miles or so from the tunnel and that part of the trail is either flat or slightly downhill. I told the church riders that, but I’m sure after riding it they thought I might have stretched the truth. Well, maybe a little. But the truth is—ten miles on a bike seat is still ten miles on a bike seat.
I have learned over the years to respect every foot of the tunnel there. As you enter the tunnel, two things are apparent. One, there is plenty of light. So, it is easy to assume that there will be plenty of light all the way through. That would be a mistake. Second, you might assume that since you can see the “light at the end of tunnel” that would be enough to get you through. Uh, that would be a mistake too. Let me describe it…though words really can’t do the job. You must experience it.
Whether you are riding your bike or walking, as you enter the tunnel you really do think, “Oh this isn’t too bad.” There is plenty of light and of course, you can clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel. Slowly, very slowly, almost without noticing, the light fades away and suddenly, just shy of halfway, you find yourself in total, eerie, darkness. What seemed so easy now seems increasingly difficult. Even with the light at the end of tunnel, you can’t tell where you are going. You think you are in the middle of the trail when in fact you can easily be heading straight for the walls. Over the years, everyone who has ridden with our group has made it through the tunnel. It’s just that some of them came out with a few bruises and scrapes…courtesy of “the walls.”
Well, after about a hundred feet, light slowly starts appearing around you and before long the light pouring in from the end of the tunnel envelopes you…and you are glad. I’ve even ridden in the tunnel with a flashlight, and it still seems difficult. You see, light at the end of the tunnel or not, darkness is difficult. You simply lose all sense of where you are. That is true in tunnels…and it is true in life. Too often we are faced with choices and decide that we can handle what our common sense tells us is a bad idea. We enter the tunnel with plenty of light and assume we have escaped the blight of our choice. Only later do we see what we couldn’t see—the consequences of our decision. Only when we “hit the wall” do we understand the pain of our decision. It is only after we emerge back into the light that we can see the wounds from the walls and realize the scars that we will bear.
Life will have its valleys and not all tunnels in life are caused by our misguided choices, but the good news is regardless—we can find help. Imagine what it would be like to take sunlight with us into the valleys—into the tunnels of life. What if the deepest valley and the darkest tunnel could be lit as noon is on a sunny day. Well, it can. You see, there is a light that defies darkness and is brighter than the sun—in fact, it is the Son. Two thousand years ago a Man was born that claimed…and proved…that He was the Son of God, and His name is Jesus. Have you ever wondered why this simple carpenter from an obscure village in the Middle East commands center stage on the stage of history? The reason why? He is the real deal. The Bible describes Him as the Light of the world…and He is. And when a person follows Him, he walks in His light.
Jesus said, “I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark.” That is a claim, a promise, worth checking out. When we were kids a lot of us were afraid of the dark. As adults most of us have outgrown that fear, but we still have reason to fear the phantoms of the dark…things that are bigger than us. Jesus drives the darkness and phantoms away when we chose to follow Him. He’s waiting right now to bring light into your life…your tunnels. When we find ourselves in our darkest moment, you will hear the Whisperer whisper, “Fear not…I’ve got this. And He does. Bro. Dewayne