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Through A Dark Tunnel

by Robin Gough

 I remember when I was a kid, my parents would go for walks down a country road. The trees had grown and covered the road in such a way that they seemed to create this tunnel that made you feel like they were shielding you from the sky and everything beyond.

     In 2015, our six-year-old son, Liam, became seriously ill. It began with a high fever, followed by chest pain. It was like living in an episode of “House, M.D.” as the doctors tried to find out what was causing the pain. He was in tremendous pain, and his little body was in toxic shock, causing his tongue began to swell, making his breathing difficult. An MRI determined that he had an abscess under his sternum that required surgery.

     As Liam was in the hospital, so many people have sent or brought balloons, gifts, even cookies. He received toys, blankets, even Pokemon cards (his favorite). But by far, his most treasured gifts were the stuffed animals that people had given him. See, Liam used to love stuffed animals, sometimes more than toys. He used to make his bed at home with them surrounding his pillow and at night has all of them with him under the covers.

     When they rolled him to the operating room, his stuffed animals were traveling in the bed with him. He held them close as the nurses wheeled him away from mom and dad. They were his traveling companions. When he came out of surgery, we noticed that one of his stuffed animals had a bandage on its chest just like Liam                                        .      

     There is something about traveling down a dark tunnel with someone by your side. It makes the journey so much more tolerable if someone is there to whom we can hold. Throughout that journey, we received such an outpouring from people who walked with us through that dark tunnel. We received notes and prayers; we had people, literally, all over the world tell us that they added Liam to their local church prayer list. We knew that we didn’t walk down that valley alone. More importantly, it reminded us that even though we walked through this valley, our Great Shepherd was walking beside us.

      Sometimes, this journey we are on – this tunnel – has a way of blocking out the sun and keeping us from seeing the brightness that lies beyond. And just like that stuffed puppy dog with the same bandage as Liam, those who walk with us are bearing the concern and burden that we carry. They are our walking companions as we travel down this tunnel. That’s what it means when Paul tells the church in Galatia to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2)

      It brings us comfort and peace in this journey and has strengthened our faith. We are not alone.

     So, who has walked with you in your best days and your darkest times? Too often, we can feel that we are alone – in our joys, our grief, our triumphs, and our failures. Today, make a list of those who have had a positive impact on your life. Make three columns: Spiritual Impacts, Relational Impacts, Educational/Professional Impacts. As the week goes on and you may remember someone else, feel free to add them to your list. At the end of the week, look at your list. I bet you’ll be surprised at the people who have shaped you! Blessings.


                                Robin Gough is Worship leader at Fairfax CofC, Fairfax VA

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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10