PRINCIPLE: “When you see the tunnel ahead, claim your faith.”
Traveling through the mountains involves an occasional passage through a tunnel. I always find it somewhat eerie. I know it's safe and that it's really no different than the open road, but being totally engulfed by rock, with no view of the sky or familiar scenic surroundings, and with no avenue of escape can quickly produce dark thoughts – and even fear. I just like being able to see where I am and having the assurance that there are options for escape should something happen. Tunnels do not allow for either. I have these feelings even though I've always made it through to the other side.
Recently, however, my thoughts about tunnels began to change. I read these words from John Henry Jowett: “A little while ago I discovered a spring. I tried to choke it. I heaped sand and gravel upon it; I piled stones above it! And through them all it emerged, noiselessly and irresistibly, a radiant resurrection! And so the empty tomb becomes the symbol of a thoroughfare between life in time and life in the unshadowed Presence of our God. Death is now like a short tunnel which is near my home; I can look through it and see the other side! In the risen Lord death becomes transparent. 'O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?'” (1 Cor. 15:55) “When you see the tunnel ahead, claim your faith.”
Think about it. Is it mere coincidence that most of the contemporary accounts of people being on the edge of death – or actually dead – and then regaining life involve traveling through some type of tunnel? I believe it's more than coincidence. While Jesus never described what His coming would look or feel like, the bottom line is that He did say He was coming to get us. “There are many rooms in my Father's house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am.” (John 14:2-3 GNT) Taking us to be where He is involves traveling through unknown territory engulfed by unknown, unfamiliar surroundings, with no avenue of escape. But because of Jesus we know we'll make it safely to the end of the tunnel and into territory more beautiful than we can imagine. And we're traveling through with Jesus!
Tunnels now remind me that when we, or someone we love, is facing death, we have this great assurance. Death is not the end – it is just a passageway, a thoroughfare, a tunnel, through which we pass with Jesus to the life of glory. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; and those who live and believe in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 GNT – underlining mine) We will not die – we simply travel to a new homeland. So “When you see the tunnel ahead, claim your faith.”
From now on, my journeys through the mountain tunnels will cause me to reflect, for they will point me to the truth that only those who believe in Jesus know: we will never die! And that's cause for rejoicing. The next time I see a sign stating that there's a tunnel ahead, I'll remember “When you see the tunnel ahead, claim your faith.”
Perhaps you or a loved one is facing life's last journey; there's no way around it; it's a difficult time. It's hard, on this end of the tunnel, to say goodbye. But “When you see the tunnel ahead, claim your faith.” We can only imagine what's on the other side! As Paul poignantly wrote (1 Cor. 15:57-58 NLT):
“But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”