What If the View That Comes After Our Darkest Seasons Is Worth It?
By Jennye Bock
Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Jennye's Story
As I sat at my desk, I came across a photo from a trip taken last summer. I paused, my mind meandering back to that day.
I was traveling with my husband, my daughter and her friend to California. The final leg of a string of flights landed us in Fresno where we shoved bulging suitcases into the back of our rental. We drove past groves of almond trees, rows of grapevines, and through small towns.
Once past the entrance to Yosemite National Park, we snaked along the sequoia-lined road towards the valley-floor lodge. My neck stiffened from craning to view treetops that seemed to brush up against huge puffs of clouds. I resisted the urge to look at the clock again. Like a kid wanting to know how much longer, I was so anxious to get there.
Suddenly, the scenery and daylight were swallowed by darkness. Headlights and roaring engines cut through the confined space.
As our car emerged from the tunnel, we were met with a scene I’ll never forget. We pulled over to stretch our legs and gaze wide-eyed at the jaw-dropping artwork that lay before us.
This lookout, known as “Tunnel View,” shows off the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains standing grandly in the distance. Half Dome towered closer, its face of granite reflecting light as if to say, “Look at me!” El Capitan, dressed in shades of white and gray, rose royally on our left, and billowing misty waters of Bridalveil Fall cascaded on the right. The lush green carpet of trees lay below, and an endless cloud-filled sky spread out overhead, streaming with the afternoon sunlight.
The day of travel had challenged our stamina, nerves, and stomachs. The road had been long, winding up and down and around. We were weary, and that tunnel was dark. But what we found on the other side was a panoramic delight worth every minute of what it took to get there.
Fatigue was quickly replaced with excitement and joy. I paused with wonder, thinking, “Lord, our Lord, how magnificent is your name throughout the earth!” (Psalm 8:9, HCSB), as I viewed this breathtaking slice of creation.
My Own Tunnel View
Now, here, as I sit looking at the photo, I felt a gentle voice remind me of a long-ago season in which pieces of a cherished life began to crumble and fall. A season that saw a slow unraveling of my marriage. A season that seemed like a long, dark, and lonely tunnel. As I lingered at my desk, I felt God whisper truths to my soul.
He reminded me that it was in the tunnel where I’d been drawn closer to his Son. The gut-wrenching season of sorrow and darkness sent me toward the Light more than ever.
It was in the tunnel that my Abba Father had hugged me tight, His Spirit pointing me to the Psalms. That old Bible has markings and notes and smears where tears accompanied time spent with him in pages of his precious Word.
It was in the tunnel that God gladly invited me to praise and weep at the same time. I learned to know Him as the One who sees me. And He showed me that He is enough.
It was worth every minute of what it took to get there, to the other side of the tunnel.
Keeping Our Gaze on What’s Ahead
One of my favorite passages that has given me encouragement during those tunnel seasons is:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed. I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: “Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer because the previous things have passed away,” (Revelation 4:1-4, HCSB).
These words still bring me hope for what’s beyond my tears and trials and tunnel seasons. But more than that, they grant me a glimpse of what lies beyond this life, giving a preview of something beautiful beyond words and glorious beyond imagining.
Like Tunnel View, except better. Beyond better.
Photo credit: Unsplash, Aaron Burden.
The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest essay series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. When we read each other’s stories of how He meets us, it reminds and reassures us that He is near. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.
Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive notifications for each new essay, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a link to a FREE resource, A Listening Guide + Prayer Map, which walks you through four heart postures to help you learn to hear His voice in prayer. This guide is a tool to listen for Him differently, and capture your prayer time in a new way, helping you know Him deeper and hear Him louder.
Learn more about each posture:
1 | Know: Will God Speak, Even to Me?
2 | Expect: Can I Expect to Hear God?
3 | Listen: How Do I Listen for God?
4 | Connect: Is God Really Right Here?
New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!
Interested in contributing to the Hear Him Louder Essay Series? The call for submissions opens twice a year. To submit an essay outside of those windows, contact me.
Jennye lives in Tulsa, OK with her husband, daughter, dog named Cy and cat named Tux. She and her husband have seven grown children between them. Life stays busy but brings joy! She savors nature, traveling, early morning meditations in a cozy chair, and summer evening visits on the back patio. A long walk on a quiet beach before sunup, or a lingering chat with a friend over coffee and quiche are among moments she cherishes.
Jennye writes to encourage others along life’s journey, pointing to the One who walks with us through fiery flames and deep waters.