Deep in my heart, I know that the struggles in this life do not last forever. There is always light at the end of the tunnel so they say. But how long the tunnel is, we do not have a definite answer. We all have to go through trials and tribulations in this life. No one is exempt. There are things that we have control of, but there are also situations which we just have to go through and wait until the dust settles. In every ordeal we can always do something – even in the most dire circumstances – even if all we can do is hope.
There are times in life when the tunnels seem long, so long that we doubt if there really is an end. But there have been a few people who have inspired me to hold on and never stop hoping. In their example I have found strength. Their light has served as a beacon for me during my low times.
The Tunnel of Physical Infirmities
In this mortal probation, our physical bodies are subject to pain and disease. From a common cold to debilitating cancer, there are numerous threats to health.
One woman in the prime of her life, a mother of two girls, found out that she had breast cancer. I could not imagine how the news affected the family. A surgery was required to remove the affected parts of her body and she had to go through a series of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. It would have been easy for her to just give up, just let the illness and the depression consume her whole being after enduring such a painful process for so long. But the hope of spending more time with her girls and watching them grow up helped her win the battle one day at a time.
The Tunnel of Betrayal and Infidelity
We do not have control over other people. But choices other people make can make or break us – especially the people that are very close to us.
A woman I know found out one day that her husband was having an affair. She was pregnant with her third child at the time. The dilemma of confronting her husband and the uncertainty of what would happen after almost took the best out of her. Those times were tough for her, a mother raising two daughters while also being heavy with child, all because her husband had chosen to be with another woman. She could have just given up. She would have been justified giving up on her marriage. It would have been easier to just let go and move on with her life. Instead, she chose to forgive. With the hope that forgiveness brings peace, she was able to get through the tough times.
The Tunnel of Poverty
Poverty can break a soul but it does not have to if you do not allow it. Not all people see poverty the same way. There are those that have little but still find themselves provided for. And there are times when people have to fight tooth and nail just to have food for their families.
A widow left to raise six children found herself struggling to put food on the table. Even the most basic of necessities were very hard to find. Add to that the cost of sending them to school. A quick escape could have been a release. Thoughts of leaving the children – hungry and uneducated – almost clouded her mind but she chose otherwise. With the meager salary of a teacher, she was able to send all her children to school. She had hope in her heart that if the children were educated, they would have a brighter future. This fueled her desire to endure, scrimping and saving what little she had to raise a family on her own and producing professionals after years of sacrifice.
We cannot keep ourselves immune from the ailments of mortality, no matter how healthy we live. The people around us can hurt us deeply. We are often put in predicaments that make us feel helpless. But whenever we are sick, betrayed, depressed or pushed into a corner – when it seems like there is no escape, let us look towards the healing power of the Atonement. For with it comes the hope of better days ahead. Let the Savior rescue us from the grasps of anger, pain and sorrow. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ makes available to us the greatest source of hope – that someday all these struggles will be over, because the battle against pain – even death – has already been won. So no matter how long the tunnel is, we can always hope, and find light in the near distance. Never let go of hope! Healing, forgiveness, peace and joy are within our reach no matter how long it takes.