Today’s story is another bridge story. My mentor and I were visiting a state that was about 9 hours away. In order to maximize our time there, we left home around 1 in the morning. This meant driving through the (rest of) the night in order to make it to our destination mid-morning. Much of our travels was in the dark, but that meant that we got to see the sun rise, the fog lift, and creation wake up. We got to see the morning mist fade away as the sun stretched and warmed the landscape up.
On our way to the hotel, there was this huge, tall bridge that seemed to come out of no where. We rounded a curve on the highway and then, all of a sudden, we were on this bridge that connected two inlets on the coast. This meant that we were riding over water, and the water still had the fog from that morning. Looking out of our windows, the fog on the water connected with the low-hanging clouds in the sky and it felt as if we too were part of the clouds. It was a beautiful moment, one easy to get lost in. You felt like you were flying in some fairytale land, like you had followed the second star to the right, straight on to morning, as the sun peeked through the mist.
There was one or two signs admonishing us to check our fuel, and then suddenly the bridge curved again and dipped us straight into a tunnel at the end. In the blink of an eye we had gone from being surrounded by clouds to being enclosed in concrete. It was a long tunnel, one you couldn’t see the end of at the beginning, with lights here and there along the ceiling blinking on and off, and signs hanging overhead warning us to maintain our speed and stay in our own lane. There were no signs of life, no sky overhead or birds merrily chirping. No sunlight, just a very long tunnel.
And what a picture! One moment, all of a sudden, you’re on top of the world. You can’t tell if your feet are even still on the ground, so close are the clouds. In the next breath, you’re buried alive, underground, cut off from all the beauty. It’s cold and it’s hard. It’s rocky all around you.
But if you check your fuel when you’re in the clouds, if you stock up on encouragement and hide it in your heart, then when you get dumped into the tunnel, you’ll have enough to keep you going. It may be lonely or there may be people buzzing all around you, but if you maintain your speed and don’t slow down, if you stay in your lane and just keep going, you’ll get through it. You’ll come out on the other side and see the sunlight again.
So don’t get discouraged, dear friend, if you’re in the tunnel. There is an end to it, and it’s coming. Don’t slow down now; maintain your speed. Check your fuel and know that God is the one who can refill you when you’re running on fumes. Stay in your own lane and don’t worry about what those around you are doing. Just keep your focus on God and push on, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.