The Season of the Tunnel

“In the shadow of His hand He has concealed me, and He has also made me a select arrow; He has hidden me in His quiver.” (Isa. 49:2)

Let’s do a little anthropomorphic exercise. Let’s pretend the arrow is self-aware. Have you ever considered what a quiver must look like from the perspective of the arrow? An archer needs an arrow, right? He is a warrior. He must have a weapon. At some point in your past, you’ve probably prayed, “God, use me.” You wanted to be that weapon in his hand. But the prayer is the easy part. The fulfillment takes time. As soon as you said, “Amen,” a process began. Various parts had to be gathered in raw form, refined, then joined.

That’s okay. You expected at least some of that. You’re willing. To be used, you know you must be prepared, trained. It takes time. You’re learning patience. It’s not always pleasant, but there seems to be a purpose in it, so it’s okay.

Finally, the crafting, shaping and refining are done. The arrow is complete. Metal has been mined from the deep places of the earth and molded in the fires of the smithy. The best and straightest tree branches have been cut, debarked, whittled, smoothed, heated, hardened. Then fletched with feathers. Notched to grab the string and really fly. Finally…ready! You are prepared. You’ve submitted your heart to God, you’ve asked for change, transformation. You’ve waited. You’ve gone through all the frustration and aggravation which discipleship invites, but it’s all been worth it. Now, at last, the weapon, the arrow—YOU—are ready. The archer smiles.

He takes you.

In His hand.

Then sticks you in a long, dark tube.

What the—?! What about the battle, the glory, the straight, true flight? You’re sooo ready! But no…no. Instead, you lay inert, untouched, carried here and there. Confined. Basically…forgotten.

Or so it seems.

All the training, the pain, the labor and discipline. For what? For a season in the tunnel. A season of unknown purpose and indeterminate time. And the Purpose thing…that’s the part that really sucks, eh? During the process of becoming, you at least had a sense of Purpose. You were on your way to Arrowhood. Now, in the tunnel, surrounded by darkness and maybe other arrows, feeling rather anonymous and lost, time seems to drag on…for what? If ever you were, now, you are no longer in control. You just have to lay there. You might even have to watch as other arrows get used before you. Could be weeks, months, years.

Is it worth it now, disciple? This is the difference between an arrow and a select arrow.

Tell me your story. Where are you in this process?

6 thoughts on “The Season of the Tunnel

  1. Fabulous. Never have I seen this perspective. It’s all God’s timing, and we wait until He is ready for is to be fired. My “tunnel” season started 2 years ago. I sepearted from my husband of 11yrs, beacause of substance abuse issues for him. It was’nt until then that I finally gave my seemingly controlled life, into God’s “quiver”. These last 2 years have been just that, being made into the arrow you speak of. It has been a process, but I have lived more, and hurt more than ever in my life. I would not change any of it. God is moving me along in my seasons, and I’m greatful to have his wisdom come to me through so many different channels. Thank you for your insight, and keep plugging into His outlet, and speaking your heart.

  2. Right now my tunnel season is relentlessly daunting. I am in the midst of waiting for the outcome of two legal battles, one of which has been going on for well over a year now, and the other as a result of the first dragging on. Due to the prolonged waiting and potential outcome, I am unable to apply for, let alone accept a full time job. The financial struggle that ensues when trying to support and lead a wife and three children under the age of three just adds more darkness to my tunnel and puts the light that much farther away.

    However, I don’t lose sight. Pressing on towards the goal as our Creator calls is to isn’t easy. But when iron such as this anthropomorphic exercise sharpens and encourages me the way that so many others have, the journey and wait becomes much easier to bear.

    Thank you. Thank you for reminders that our God hasn’t forgotten us. He is simply refining and preparing us for a glorious purpose… For what exactly we may never know.

  3. I became a Christian at age 10 but then at age 27 I ran into a major crisis. I was married with a baby to my husband with an alcohol addiction and destructive behavior. He went to several rehabs but no change. I raised the baby mostly on my own. I also had to deal with my own issues. I realized that I never knew the Holy Spirit and didn’t know about God’s grace. God gave me several dreams that revealed lies that I believed about myself and God that I learned in my childhood. God truly rescued me and has been remaking my thoughts. I filed for divorce a little while ago but still have hope in what God can do to restore this family. My deepest desire is for my husband to be healed and for our family to serve God and bring glory to His name. That has yet to be fulfilled and some days are still very difficult.

    This was encouraging, so thank you.

  4. These are challenging seasons, especially since they almost always seem so open-ended. When is enough refining enough? But though the “tunnel season” may feel like a bad joke with no punchline, God’s nature is compassionate in the midst of it. He’s not saying, “Well, they seem to be holding out so let’s just keep giving them more.” Most of the time, He doesn’t cause our tunnels, He just chooses to walk with us through them so that, by grace, we are more conformed to His image—more rooted, more tender, more dependent on Him—than when we entered.

  5. As i read the replies perhaps i miss understand what you mean by the TUNNEL. I was understanding that the shaping of the arrow, the tempering of it and such was all apart of MAKING the arrow. It was ACTIVE time in our walk. Then the TUNNEL was a time when we ‘feel ready’ but God says WAIT. So we are put in the QUIVER to sit. We are not necessarily further refined. That our times of TRIAL has passed and life smooths out for us. Maybe we are resting in the promise 🙂 Maybe we are in a time of peaceful slumber… gaining strength in our time alone with Him. We are a warrior prepared for battle but the battle has not yet been brought to our door. We have not yet been pulled from the quiver/tunnel to be shot into the battle. We walk through our days living and loving Him. We do what our hands find to do as we gain simple strength. I find that ‘we’ tend to want to RUSH BOLDLY into our FUTURE in stead of letting our future come to us.

    My tunnel as i understand your message. Is a time of sweet repose. A time to breathe in the beauty of creation. A time to have less stress and more peace. Perhaps the time in the quiver is a reward, a time to understand the inner resolve that we have gained during the ‘pounding out’ time.

    I see the quiver as a reward, a safe place, a peaceful place. A place to be held close and carried by His holy hand.

  6. Paulette, I think, depending on one’s disposition and state of grace, the tunnel can be either: REST (as you state), or further TRIAL (feeling delayed, forgotten, etc). I suspect the exact same scenario for one could be felt the opposite in another. Most of my tunnels have felt like the latter. Only later did I see them as also possessing the qualities of the former. Hindsight, 20/20. Take care!

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