Matthew 7:13-14 – Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (NIV)
Numbers 22:24,26 – But the angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. And the angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. (KJV)
Most days, my walk takes me through two large culvert-type underground tunnels about a mile apart, with a paved path between them. A highway parallels the path on one side, the train tracks on the other. One tunnel connects to the grounds of an elementary school, and the other to those of a high school.
The path leading up to and through the elementary school tunnel is very clean, as is the tunnel itself, including its ceiling and walls. The path leading to and through the high school tunnel is a different story.
The elementary school's tunnel is painted a light grey, which leads one nicely through and to the light of day at the end of the tunnel. Even though electrically lit, the high school's tunnel is dark and dreary, scattered with litter and graffiti — some of which is quite artistic and interesting, but some of which is not.
Walking through the elementary school's tunnel is a pleasant experience, and it is easy to look to the light at the end, but while walking through the daunting darkness of the high school's tunnel one finds oneself forced to find that focus.
As I was telling a friend about a trying time several years ago, I thought of the tunnels — of how easy our way seems when things are going fine, when we bear few or no burdens and life seems light; as opposed to the dark days in our lives when the going is tough and our choices are challenged — when we are enshrined in the high school-tunnel-type of vision because of our troubles and find it difficult to stay focused on the light we know is at the end.
Generally, when we say one has tunnel vision, it means someone is narrow-minded, has a low scope on things, cannot see the bigger picture. Where it relates to God, having tunnel vision — that is, keeping our focus on him — allows us to see that bigger picture in the end.
It is when we are walking through that dark, dank tunnel that our faith is truly tested; and it is in that testing, when we walk with God at our side, that we build strength, courage and capabilities we may not have otherwise realized.
Prayer: Lord, we know we can call upon you when we walk through the dark tunnels in our life, though sometimes we need to be reminded that you are making that walk with us. May we also remember you are with us through the bright tunnels, and may we remember to let you know that we know that. In your name we give our thanks. Amen.