Down she went into the hole. My 13-year old daughter disappeared from view. Heart pounding I climbed down after her. Darkness took over. Bumps and shouts slammed my ears as I crawled through the tunnel.
“Come on, Mom!” The sound of her voice faded into the distance.
My breathing quickened as I questioned my sanity, never having thought of myself as claustrophobic before that moment. Bruised knees complained as I clambered through the dark after my fearless leader. I could hear her, but didn’t catch up until I hauled myself out of the shadow-filled passageway.
“That was fun!” Giggling, she ran to rejoin our family in the children’s museum.
Fun wasn’t the word I had in mind at the moment.
I wonder if that’s how Jesus’ followers felt when he told them about the persecution and difficulty they were sure to encounter because they followed him.
“…and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear.”
Mark 10:32 NLT
There are times when it seems following Jesus is as daunting as plunging headlong into a dark tunnel. We know Jesus is walking ahead, leading. He has purpose and direction. He has asked us to follow. We trust Him and find ourselves trailing along behind, but we are afraid.
Even though Jesus said there will be rewards, He also told us it was going to be hard. It’s tough to keep our eyes on the goal when our vision is shadowed by the darkness of difficulty in between.
Jesus went on to explain, “Listen, we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.” (Mark 10:33-34 NLT emphasis added)
Let’s face it. The path between where we are now and where we want to be tomorrow is often dark and rugged. Yet Jesus asks us to follow Him there. We want Jesus to shine light on the situation so we feel safe to move ahead. But this is not the life of faith. He always says wake up, get up. When we do, then the light comes.
Perhaps the place to start is allowing the truth of God’s word to shine light on everything that isn’t truth in our hearts. When we are afraid, realize we may have forgotten He is always with us, protecting and guiding. By following Jesus through our dark times we will emerge on the other side into the light once again.