Claustrophobic, the darkness is maddening. The silence, deafening. Tears stinging my eyes, I struggle to remember how I got here. How had I ended up in this isolation, this three-dimensional state of turbulence?
I call out to anyone who might be within earshot. Hearing only an echo of my own voice, I resolve that I am completely on my own.
Raising my hand to touch the darkness, I realize that my clothes are damp, a cold reality check that things must be worse than I had feared. I reach out in front of me for any sign of a sound structure, anything to lean on.
I’m hungry…I need food, I need normalcy, I crave any semblance of what my life used to taste like. Instead, I swallow the lump that has been slowly forming in my throat.
Up ahead, to the left of me, to the right of me, I am boxed in by the darkness.
Again, I reach out and this time, my hand brushes up against a gravelled wall. Although it is not a way out, it offers a route- a direction. It must lead somewhere. Hopeful that it will lead me to safety, I place both hands on the barrier and begin to move alongside it.
I walk for miles, for what seems like an eternity before I hear a familiar sound. Strangely, it sounds like thunder. One loud boom after another, and then a strong flash of light follows, illuminating my path for just a moment.
I begin to realize that I am in some kind of tunnel. My pace quickens as I am slowly able to piece together my surroundings.
I can still hear the powerful crack of thunder whipping across a distant sky. And now, indistinct splashes of what I believe are rain drops on flood waters begin to echo against the walls.
Confused, I keep moving toward the sounds. I feel a strong gust of wind and the smell of salt fills my nostrils and I can sense that the tunnel is coming to an end.
Fear pulsates through my body, but I hold fast to the wall, leaning my weight onto its gravelled surface, its sturdy walls my only barrier against the unknown world ahead.
Suddenly, the tunnel wall begins to run out, the wall becoming thinner beneath my hands as I continue to move forward.
Once again, fear envelopes my body, my legs almost buckle under the weight of my uncertainty.
I feel the tunnel come to an abrupt end and contrary to what I had heard all of my life, there was no light that I could make out. The lightning had even stopped giving hope.
I stand there for a moment before deciding that I have to keep moving. In that instant, the sky begins to open up, and a deep orange hue begins to spread across its face at my right, while the clouds rolled back to reveal a sheet of twinkling stars for as far as I could see in front of me.
Within minutes, the orange gives way to blue sky at my left, which began to lend itself to the indigo, violet, and red of a perfectly arched rainbow. In that instant, I began to see that all around me was destruction.
Flattened trees, flooded homes, broken roads, downed power lines, and worse.
I realize that my tunnel had not just been a trap–built to scare me, isolate me, or punish me. It had protected me.
It had been the only thing shielding me from the destruction of a storm.
The next time you find yourself in darkness, in isolation, in silence– be patient, keep moving, and trust your tunnel. For, it always exists for a reason.
And if, at the end, you don’t quite find the light right away, still, keep moving.
For God will show up at the right of you, His light whisper of assurance will eventually light the path before you, and life will re-create itself when it is safe to begin to rebuild.
In the meantime, trust, appreciate, and hold fast to your tunnel. It will be the reason you make it through your storm.