Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Tunnel

God is really marvelous, you know. He is perfect in every aspect of His character and attributes, activities and interactions. He was all of these things before time, is every one of them in total completion today, and will be each one securely forever. Since He is the very definition of Truth and cannot lie, His promises are more reliable than bedrock. I'm glad you're joining me as I rediscover and affirm these divine facts in my inner woman.

On October 3, 2012 I began to chronicle my Abyss-Cave-Tunnel journey as a modern day testament to God's self-defining faithfulness and never-ending love. I've spent the last 30 days wandering through the Tunnel in spurts and stops. As I was fumbling along I received a message from a friend in the midst of a severe trial. I did my best to offer her the treasures I was unearthing in my own explorations wherever I felt they might encourage her heart. As is so often the case, the Spirit was talking to both of us.

reaching out to my friend: 
I ache for you even as I too am experiencing some of the deepest and darkest days of my Christian walk. I am thankful that you've read 'Faith' Fails [the October 3 post] and pray that it means that you are not looking to me as the older woman who has life all figured out. That simply is not so. I, like you and the woman of Luke 8, must fall prostrate at the Savior's feet and reach out to touch the hem of His garment for healing. I can not answer every question nor solve every problem. Rather I am very aware of all that I do not know. I relate easily to your comment, "I do not get it." 

The confusion of my experience in the Tunnel exhausted me. I groped around in terror unable to cope with the harshness that surrounded me nor the despair of ever finding an exit. It was a massive relief when I was granted simple up and down orientation, and then the reminder that God was with me. I had been able to locate a few basic Truths that acted like trail markers, but I was making only minimal progress. As I searched the Scriptures to encourage my friend, the tiny light I'd been moving toward grew brighter.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:28-30

God was reminding me/us. He is the Shepherd who calls and cares. He is the Sovereign who reigns and loves. He is the Alpha and the Omega who judges and redeems. The passage reminded me of my relationship with Him. The mercy and faith He bestowed on me is secure for it comes by His grace. He set the plan for my reconciliation and He carries it through to completion. I can be sidetracked for His purposes, but I can NOT be sidelined. I started to realize that God was using the isolation of my incarceration to grant me further insights into my embattled mind.

The tension that threatened to undo me in spite of the progress I was making became more clear. I seemed to be chronically caught between what I wanted to do to please God and the overload of everything else in my life. Every moment felt as if I were confronted by physical, emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual boundaries and limitations, distractions and disruptions that trapped me in disobedience. Even if I were able to do the 'right thing' there was always the possibility that it was accomplished with the wrong motivation. Peace evaded me.

Somehow Paul came to mind as I pondered the dismal corridor around me. I seemed to remember that he addressed something like this in his great epistle to the Church in Rome.

"I do not undersand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" Romans 7:15-24

Sure enough, Paul understood the conflict. His description expresses the turmoil and strife I know and brings it into focus. The Law of God is in hand-to-hand combat with the law of sin. The delight for God's ways in my inner being is in direct opposition to the craving for sin in the members of my body. I piggyback on Paul's conclusion, "What a wretched woman I am! Who will rescue me from this Tunnel?"

Hallelujah, I am not crazy. There is a real war being waged within me. The inner clashing I feel is reasonable. It's not my selfish desires railing against the world around me and the people in it that simply will not accede to my wishes. It's the effects of the Fall and the expansion of sin that irritate my spirit. I praise God that His Word doesn't stop there. Paul continues with the inspired assessment of the battlefield and the rescue plan the Father has divinely set in place.

"Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." Romans 7:25.

I will reverse the order of the phrases for clarity for myself.

"Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, in my sinful nature I [Sandra] am a slave to the law of sin, I myself [Sandra] in my mind am a slave to God's law." 

I pray that you, my friend, can grab onto the deep, internal, intimate, life-changing value of these Truths with me. Yes, there is a battle raging, but it's not against outside forces. There no sense in taking them on as adversaries to conquer. Rather since the 'mind' of the redeemed is enslaved to God's law that is the target to bombard with Truth to drive the enemy from having any foothold. Oh Hallelujah! I get it. That's why Paul urges us on with a specific strategy.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world [with my sin-yearning body], but be transformed by the renewing of your mind [which is bonded to God's law]." Romans 12:2

It is true that we are waging war. It feels like that because we are locked in battle, but it's not against our parents or our mates or our children or our neighbors or objects or circumstances or anything we can see around us.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12

Sin, the very thing that the enemy used to poison the relationship between God and Man and Man and Woman in Eden is the real enemy. Sin is the specific object of God's wrath, HOWEVER, that consequence is nullified on behalf of all those we who are hid in Christ. We are not open to the full force of the Father's wrath because we are hid in His sinless life and substitutionary death. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1  
Thank you, Jesus.

In the meantime, though I'm relieved of ultimate accountability, I am still engaged in the war. It is not at all the kind of campaign I thought I was fighting. It's as if I had my weapons aimed in the wrong direction. I am not battling the people and circumstances around me. It's a completely different kind of war that calls for different weapons and spiritual strategies.

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine powers to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."  2 Corinthians 10:3-5

We, you and I, need to be intentional about putting on the Ephesians 6 armor. We need to be conscious to pray without ceasing. We need to be ever-submitting our wills to the Father in loving gratitude. We need to pay attention to the 'billboards' that God gives to declare His Truth.

The war is real.

You are combatants.

I have secured the victory.

I AM with you and will be with you from now through ALL ETERNITY!

God is granting me a glimpse of the Tunnel as a kind of specialized training ground to purify my faith. I'm understanding more keenly that it is the LORD Himself who orchestrates even these confusing, sense-depriving circumstances in my life. Since He is the ultimate and proper authority and He loves me perfectly, that's fine by me. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be refined that I might more fully reflect His image and bring glory to His Name.

back to my friend: I close this heart-pouring-out message with much prayer that God will, as He has done and prayerfully will continue to do for me, meet you at your greatest point of need, hold you close and reassure you of His great, unbiased love for you, and then cause you to lie down in green pastures, lead you beside quiet waters, restore your soul, and guide you in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake. [from Psalm 23]   AMEN


  1. Dear Sandra,
    It is so refreshing to read of your battle and the victory that has come. This journey will make a wonderful new book for you to offer.
    Keep on valiant warrior.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Sherry. We've got another title or two in the works ahead of the 'Abyss-Cave-Tunnel-next post' account can be recorded. Sorry.

  2. Hi ~ I found you through the Fellowship of Christian Bloggers. This post was wonderful and I can so relate to it. Thank you for sharing this. I will be following your blog. From the comment from Vies from the Parsonage I'm guessing you write books. I would be interested in knowing. Have a blessed day...Chelle

    1. Hi Chelle, I wrote a note to you, but don't see it here. :-(
      It's great to know that you found me at FOBC. I'm happy to be a new member there.
      My husband and I have a book coming out in January 2013. You can find out more about it at our own website, OR you can go directly to the CIC site, Be sure to share your thoughts with us.