In the Tunnel – Part 1

The Beauty of Brokenness:

Am I nuts! How can being broken – that is emotionally crushed, my self-confident insides becoming wobbly like a rag doll – how can that be beautiful?

“Remember what brokenness is. It’s the awareness that you long to be someone you’re not and cannot be without divine help.” Dr Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams: God’s Unexpected Pathway to Joy (Waterbrook Press, 2001, p 73)

When I became a follower of Jesus – more commonly called a “Christian” – I said I believed and would follow the Son of God who was loving, perfect and beautiful. That surrender marked the admittance that I wanted to be someone I was not, and the recognition that I could only become who I desired through Jesus. My journey has continued for thirty years, and like you who have come to the same realization, and have made the same commitment, I can safely say He is still loving, perfect and beautiful.  I, like you, am gradually becoming a very little bit more like him and am being sanctified – ‘working out my own salvation with fear and trembling’. (Phil 2:12)

As I began this year, I had the resolve to share my perspective on brokenness, based on my story, and to share here on this platform, month-by-month, on the First of each month, so that others may comment, and we can all grow and be encouraged. So now, here is my commitment, to write monthly and to start with this series about Brokenness.

Through the autumn of 2013 I had the privilege of God honoring my prayer to be more like him.  Piece by fleshly piece, he showed me weaknesses in gentle but undeniable ways. He showed me my tendency to self-importance, my vanity, where I am judgmental and presumptuous. He also showed me my limitations — and a dream had to die. But through my sense of defeat, He gave me brokenness and through brokenness, He gave me victory.

Romans 12:2

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (NKJV)
I am convinced that there is purpose in our suffering. We don’t seek suffering in order to discover the high purpose, but in all things we can persevere in Christ for His high purpose and calling. Where there is pain, the ashes can be turned to joy.
Last fall I experienced a Tunnel longer than I’ve ever experienced. By ‘Tunnel’ I mean a place emotionally and spiritually where I felt confined by failure and deep conviction; I was being crushed. That is to say my limitations through my own endeavors were being revealed and where my personality was deeply flawed, these flaws  were being exposed to me. I recognized I was in a ‘Tunnel’ and prayed, waited, remained faithful until the tunnel yielded to deeper relationship with God, greater reliance on Him, and absolute joy. Recognizing the Tunnel doesn’t change the circumstance, but it shapes the experience and makes it more endurable.
So, over the next several months I’m going to share my experience of the ‘Tunnel’: what I experienced, what I learned, and how it has changed me.
What is the Tunnel?
The Tunnel is the place where we go spiritually and emotionally, when circumstances are difficult and our efforts seem to make no impact to improve our circumstances. We began our spiritual lives when we confessed our faith and commitment to God through Christ. (I claim that this is the only true spirituality because only Christ has the authority to revive/give rebirth to our spirit. All other spirituality is false, and a matter of soul development in the guise of spirituality.)
But I digress…
Often we who come to Christ do so while in a tunnel; it is while we are in this tunnel that we admit our limitations and surrender to God, thankful for His salvation and love. Then, God blesses us with many victories, which build our faith, our confidence in Him and our thanksgiving.
But there comes a time when the world, the devil or other people hurt us. We become disillusioned, sometimes even with God who didn’t protect us from this misery. Or we who are well versed in scripture and understand the tunnel as a spiritual battle, determine to fight back, hurling scriptural curve balls at the enemy, who is behind the ‘attack’ upon us. We may be using scripture to defeat the enemy who seeks to destroy us, when in actual fact our attention might be better placed on the LORD, who is allowing the challenge to teach us about ourselves and to help us to deepen our relationship with Him.
I am saying that being ‘In the Tunnel’ is the experience of those ‘attacks’ to our soul (will, emotions, intellect), and are actually sources for our benefit and growth, when we allow God-to-be-God in them, and show us what He is teaching us. I am suggesting that the pain that is present alongside our ‘Tunnel’ experiences are a part of God’s refining us to be more like Him, just as we’ve asked him to do. Just as we have come to Christ as we recognized our sinful nature, so we come deeper to him as we see the soil in our soul.
There is much beauty in every human being. But no believer and follower remains the same as the day s/he came to Christ. Growth often has to come from pain, because it is in pain we most vehemently call upon him.
But fear not. The Tunnel does not last forever. It is inevitable I think, that we experience tunnels. But how we experience them depends greatly on our understanding of the purpose for them and our keenness to grow.
There are plenty of individual circumstances that may seem to contradict my standpoint. What about the child abused by his parents? Or the spouse betrayed by the one person s/he has placed all her/his trust in? Abuse and betrayal of the innocent is painful and wrong and not Godly. In His loving character and sovereignty, my theology does not suggest He wishes it. Rather, human beings are certainly responsible for their actions against one another. But what I am saying is that God allows suffering to draw us closer to Him. Those who follow Him are not immune to suffering and in fact can benefit most. Just as we suffered in order to discover our need for Him in the first place, so we suffer to discover our continual need to be transformed into His likeness.
I welcome discussion and will aim to reply to any comment.
God bless, until next post on March 1st.
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LARUS PRESS is a Christian-based ministry that publishes books, blogs and other written material. Our mission is to inspire and empower believers, to deepen their spiritual growth and to fulfill their unique identity and purpose. We accomplish this through written material, which reflects and illuminates Biblical truths. Subscribe to the free weekly newsletter Soaring Post at www.laruspress.com/about. The primary purpose of Larus Press is to encourage, enrich, enable, educate and equip readers for the purposes to which God has called them. "Larus" is Latin for gull - a symbol of survival and freedom. Larus Press offers promotions and advertising to self-published authors with missions compatible to ours. On-line prayer counseling, speaking engagements are just a part of what Larus Press offers. Sarah Tun's Books on Larus Press: FREE TO BE (in collaboration with Essence Publishing) is a personal growth book, a guide to inspire readers to find their self-esteem through personal reflection, prayer and a deepening relationship with the Holy Spirit. Find it on Amazon (http://amzn.to/17ZJfWe or http://amzn.to/ILsVE2 ) and Smashwords ( http://bit.ly/15Ocez9 ). The preschool book THE FAITHFUL PRINCE inspires families to encourage children to walk out their budding faith with courage and confidence (release date 1st June 2014)

9 thoughts on “In the Tunnel – Part 1

  1. I was thinking about faith today, and the person who told me that faith is for the weak, for sheep that have no mind of their own, and can’t do anything but follow along after someone else. And as a believer, of course, I didn’t agree, and in fact, I think the opposite – that faith is not for the faint at heart.
    For me, there are days when it’s easy to hang on tightly to my faith, and there are times when it is just plain old hard work, especially in the face of disappointment and the discouragement that comes along with it..
    Thank you for sharing, and I look forward to reading more.

    • Indeed Dona, another friend and Believer recently mentioned to me how each of her parents had different takes on God: the Believing parent, weak with age and illness, has no fear of death, but only peace. The other, healthy but atheist is terrified of death. Which has the courage? Where does that courage come from? And who is the ‘stronger’ person…? The faith walk is loaded with blessing and challenge. That God is always faithful does not guarantee an easy journey, but we tread on, knowing He is the “author and finisher of our faith.” I wish the cynical could see that for their own sake. God bless you and so glad you’ve written in.

  2. Have been in the middle of something difficult for awhile, and this morning I realized that God makes things possible, but that’s not the same thing as making it easy (hard one for me since I always preferred the easy way – which may be the whole point of it not being easy, I guess).

  3. I suspect any of us welcomes ‘easy’, tho’ when we go through difficulties it is an opportunity to lean on God, to be stretched, to overcome our own weaknesses – all these opportunities rolled into one. Doesn’t sound like ‘easy’ or ‘lazy’ or a crutch to me at all. Rather like a challenge to move forward. Hope your week ahead is a balance between restful and stretching! God bless and a pleasure to ‘meet’ you, Donna.

  4. Hi Sarah:) Your work is beautiful. The true reason for being broken, is due to our covenant with The Lord, when our names were written in the Book of Life. He then helps us to betray ourselves, now betraying yourself is hard in the beginning and it hurts, but once you realize it was your want and needs and not the Lord’s wants and needs, it quickly falls away, that’s the time when The Lord revealed your blemishes to you. If we do not betray ourselves The Lord cannot transform us into His complete being, and this transformation is called sanctification so that we can enter the heavens. This sanctification is necessary in order for you to make out a part of the Bride for the coming Rapture. And what you said about working out your own salvation (quoted scripture) is working out your way as a part of the Bride, the privileged chosen ones, and the more you fight to not let go and betray yourself the more pain you find yourself in. The Lord wants our thoughts to become His thoughts, our words to become His words and our actions to become His actions, therefore we should acknowledge Him in everything we do, Proverbs 3:6, for if you had done that before commencing dreaming, you would have been spared the pain. But now through the pain you’ve been sanctified and are shining like a diamond. In every little thing, ask first what does Jesus want me to do. I do this from the clothes I wear, to whom am I allowed to see and spend time with, to whom am I supposed to pray for and to whom I am not supposed to pray for, and ultimately getting to the point where the Holy Spirit prays through you, then you wil realize not even what we want to pray is always in the will of The Lord. This is a very deep and pure state to get to, and it’s necessary for our own salvation, like you said. I so enjoyed your work now, thank you so much for sharing, let the Holy Spirit lead us in everything we do. Praise to the Almighty and may He maketh your paths smooth.

  5. “If we do not betray ourselves…” Indeed, it may feel like a betrayal of our own will, and yet we’ve said to the LORD in surrendering our lives to Him, not my will but Yours. So, we have given Him permission, resting on His love and promise rather than on our own will. You write beautifully too, and very succinctly. At once we are saved by His grace when we surrender our lives and yet the sanctification is a process – as Paul says, “Work out (your) own salvation with fear and trembling.”
    God bless, Chans, and it’s good to ‘meet’!

    • Indeed it’s great to meet:) That too was in the perfect will of the Lord:) so we can learn what the Lord has taught us through each other:) I love learning, I love seeing how the Lord takes different routes with each of His children. We all have different circumstances and way of living, but we’re all learning the same lessons at one point or the other:) Just interesting to study the works of the Lord. That song that goes: “Count your blessings one by one and you shall see what the Lord has done for you” The biggest lesson I’ve learn’t is to be truly grateful in your heart, when you discover it you can’t stop praising the Lord and the enemy has no more hold on your heart:D Have a wonderful day dear Sarah:)

  6. “…we’re all learning the same lessons at one point or the other” – indeed! And how good and pleasant it is to be sharing together – see Psalm 133. Thank you Chans, and God bless!

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