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?