Light at the end of the tunnel


2020 has been a banner year, and the hits just keep coming.

I mean, there have seriously been overly dramatic movies that have contained more realistic and tempered plot lines than what we have experienced thus far.

Much like many of you, I am trying to keep it positive. I am doing my best to see the proverbial silver lining. I’m working hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but at times, I fear that the light at the end of the tunnel is the train coming to finish the job rather than an exit from the hole.

Toward the end of last year, I saw a meme on one of my friends’ social media page. It noted that there were plagues in 1820, 1920 and comically warned of the possibilities for 2020. Now that said post seems eerily prophetic, it’s not near as humorous to me.

Had COVID-19 been our only issue with its quarantine, economic shutdown, growing death toll and the cancellation of life as we knew it, that would have been enough to make this year one for the record books. In the midst of the concern and uncertainty of the novel coronavirus, we have added the latest manifestation of racial injustice and oppression.

With tensions already high, it has led to protests, rioting, looting and violence on the streets of major cities across our nation. And hear me, I agree 100% that black lives matter and that this issue is one that has simmered just below the surface in our country for far too long. Change is needed, and the conversation must be had. It cannot wait.

My point in bringing all of this up is to note how it continues to set the apocalyptic tone of this year. I know there were brief conversations of murder hornets earlier in the year. Should they happen to show up in swarms, it will be incredibly difficult to argue the end isn’t upon us.

Whatever the case may be, had this year been made into a movie in days gone by, most of us wouldn’t have chosen to watch it because the plot was just too grandiose to be relatable. Seriously, we are only a flying shark away from being in the cult classic “Sharknado.”

My heart has been very heavy over the last several weeks. If I am to be 100% transparent, there have been some days when it has been difficult to see the sunny side or the silver lining.

I still have concerns about the risks posed to the people of my congregation and community by COVID-19. I hurt for those who are struggling with feelings of loneliness and desperation brought on by the quarantine and the economic collapse.

I see the damage depression is doing to relationships across my community. I have heartache for my brothers and sisters of color across our country. And I often feel a sense of helplessness to do anything to alleviate the suffering I see. I often say to my wife, “This is so hard. I don’t think I can keep doing this. I wish none of this had happened.”

Recently, as the words left my mouth, my mind recalled a scene from “The Lord of the Rings.” Frodo, the protagonist of the story, says, “I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.” The wise Gandalf gently replies with understanding and compassion, “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in the world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.”

Though it’s just a scene from a silly movie, the truth it contains brought a swell of hope into my heart. It reminded me of Jesus, who willingly chose to walk the road of suffering in order to bring salvation to the world.

The prophet Isaiah pointed to the path Jesus would walk and the end result: “It was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer… After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge, my righteous servant will justify many (Isaiah 53:10a and 11).”

Most of us wouldn’t have chosen the difficulties that have come upon us in this season, as necessary as some of them are. No one enjoys dark days. We all long for light and the life it brings us, but this is where we find ourselves. All we can do is decide how we will act in the midst of it.

As the crushing weight of the moment presses down on us, may we look to Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of faith, and find hope knowing that even in the face of great evil, good is still at work in our world. And may we seek to add our efforts and voices to those that are shining light into dark places to lead the world out of the tunnel and into the light.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at Send comments to [email protected].

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