Slow, deep breaths.
It was pitch black in here. I was okay for a few seconds and then the tube twisted on itself launching me against the side.
More breaths. Ragged. Shallow.
A distinct impression that the walls were closing in.
It’s the end!
What a relief!
The darkness, if possible, seemed deeper as I continued to rush forward leaving the lights left far behind. How long was this going to last? How long could I last having no awareness of anything beyond the darkness and falling and the feeling that I wouldn’t make it if this lasted much longer?
A water park ride is one thing but when you’re plunging through life and circumstances with no control; that is a kind of scary that doesn't end in a minute in a splash of chlorinated water.
God promises that He walks through the 'valley of the shadow of death' (Psalms 23) with us. This promise is for any kind of death; physical loss but also the loss of employment, health, home, or hope. Included are when dreams, expectations, or relationships are slaughtered or when we’re plunged into valleys that rob us of reasoning and blind our eyes to the beauty of living and stop our ears from the call of hope. There are valleys when the only emotion is fear from the shadows that grow deeper on a journey that seems like it will never end. Here, in these valleys, God walks with us for this is why He came.
God came to be Emmanuel - "God with us".
Not "God with us when we're in our Sunday best".
Nor "God with us only in wide verdant peaceful places".
But simply God with us - wherever we are.
He is Emmanuel - God with us, especially when it is dark, and long, and out of our control, and scary.
To you O God, who is the Light of the World, come to us here in these small dark spaces. Give us the light of Your presence and the touch of Your hand. Reassure us that, no matter how we may feel, we are not in this alone for you have promised to never abandon those who love you.
(John 8:12, Psalms 4:6, Psalms 89:15, Psalms 73:23, Psalms 37:28, Hebrews 13:5)