Tunnel vision – I am guilty of that! And who isn’t? We’re human. All we see is tunnel and the light at the end of it. That’s our glorious vision: the light at the end of a tunnel – oh boy! Yet it sure helps us focus with tenacity because we want to get there and not be stuck in the dark. I think this is exactly how the Psalmist felt sighing: “For the needy will not be ignored forever; the hopes of the poor will not always be crushed.”
At one time or another we feel that way. We feel needy – even though our culture absolutely hates that word; we strive for independence and emancipation – but then one bad morning we wake up and we feel it: stuck – helpless – back against the wall – no vision, not even tunnel vision – help!!!
Lately I’ve been reading up on some family stories in the book of Genesis. Chapter 29 tells the story about Jacob’s marriage to Leah and Rachel. Their father Laban sold them to Jacob when he was asking for Rachel’s hand in marriage. Laban’s answer was: “You have to work for me to have her. You have to work 7 years, and then she is yours!” So Jacob consented to this trade agreement because he really wanted to marry the love of his life. The Bible says time flew by for him and the seven years seemed to him but days. When the time came to get married, Laban underhandedly snuck in his older daughter Leah instead of Rachel and at the end of the wedding week Jacob ended up with two wives instead of just one. He now was husband of Leah and Rachel – with the requirement that he worked for another 7 years to pay Laban for both his daughters – even though Jacob was only interested in Rachel and did not want to marry Leah in the first place. So naturally, trouble was in the making!
Jacob had to deal with a trickster employer which spelled major frustration over his work life only to come home to two wives who were jealous of each other. Imagine him being stuck in that tunnel! And what about the sisters?! Leah like any girl used to dream of being courted and be married to the man who wanted her. Instead, she found herself being an unwanted addition to the family. All she felt she could do was trying to win Jacob’s favor by bearing him one child after another. Child bearing became Leah’s tunnel. Rachel was furious when her Dad intercepted and first married off Leah to Jacob even though this was meant to be her wedding and her husband. Ask any girl if she wants to share her husband with another woman, and the answer will be a resounding: No! She knew that Jacob adored the ground she walked on but she felt now that she had to fight to maintain his favor especially when it became obvious that she was barren. Infertility became Rachel’s tunnel.
Personally, we probably can all relate. I know I can. I’m in my 50s at the time of this writing and looking back my life has so many twists and turns I get dizzy just trying to make sense out of it. On mountain top days I think I get it. Then I think that life makes sense. Suffice to say that these mountain top days are only temporary and most of the time I feel more like a worker bee working underground with little daylight and just assuming I make a difference.
Then I read these Bible stories, and I know I make a difference. Jacob, Leah, and Rachel are a perfect example. None of them could see past their tunnel but all of them prayed to the One who sees the big picture, God. Put God into the human equation, and beauty comes out of ashes. Jacob, Leah, and Rachel were founders of a new nation, the nation of Israel as we read later in the book. But the story does not end there: the nation of Israel brought forth a very special person, Jesus, who calls Himself the Son of Man or: Adam’s Son, the Son predicted to Adam and Eve who would crush the Snake’s head as it was bruising his heel. So while Jacob, Leah, and Rachel were going through some major trouble they were part of an epic story that changed the world. We too are part of that epic story. We just can’t see it – but we can follow Jacob, Leah, and Rachel’s footsteps: we can pray. We pray and get connected to the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End, to the One who weaves a beautiful story and who holds our life in His kind hands.