Last Friday, my husband and I drove up to New York City for a getaway. We had smooth sailing until we were approaching the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan. Then, the traffic became horrendous. We were sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, and the ramp to the Lincoln Tunnel is on a curve. We couldn’t see what was holding it up. We’d just passed the Weehawken exit, which is the last exit for New Jersey, and we crawled along in this mess of metal for over 30 minutes.
When we got around the curve and could see a little ahead of us to the tunnel, it appeared that a bottleneck of six lanes merging into two was causing the holdup, and that once vehicles merged and got into the tunnel, they looked to be picking up speed. At this point, there was really no turning back anyway, except to do a U-turn and plow through some red cones, which I’d been thinking of suggesting to my husband, who was driving.
So we merged and got past the last possible place physically to turn around, and we were in the tunnel. And we realized, as we sat there in the darkness with a sea of taillights in front of us and headlights right in back of us, that we weren’t going any faster than we were before.
Now the Lincoln Tunnel is 1.5 miles long. My husband has been known occasionally to suffer from claustrophobia. And I myself had been battling anxiety for some time. Along with this, I was being impressed with the need to use a restroom. And, worst of all, the needle on the gas tank was inching close to the “E” – the last two issues of being unprepared had to do with the fact that my husband listened to me when I discouraged him from stopping sooner, saying that I was pretty sure there was a rest stop on the NJ Turnpike after we got off I-78. Only there wasn’t one.
So there we were, sitting in this dark tunnel, moving only in fits and starts, the car idling for several minutes in between each tiny dart forward. We’re pressed on every side by metal – buses to the right, sedans front and back of us. I prayed very quietly over my husband for him to be calm through it all. And I prayed for myself. I kept praying, both in English and in the spirit, and miraculously, while I wasn’t comfortable in my surrounds, I wasn’t panicking, and neither was my husband.
After we’d been sitting in this stop-and-go (mostly stop) traffic for about twenty minutes or so, I thought I’d glance at his iphone’s GPS and see if we weren’t getting close to the end of the tunnel. Well, that was a mistake. The little cursor that showed where our car was revealed that we were about a quarter of the way into the tunnel, not even close to halfway. And for the first time, I was reminded that the Lincoln Tunnel is underneath the Hudson River.
My husband had turned off the air at this point because of how low the gas gauge was. And it was hot in the car and in that tunnel. At that moment, I really felt that I had a rough idea of how Jonah must have felt to be in the belly of the fish. And as I thought of Jonah, and how the Hudson could just break in on us at any given moment, I was reminded how Jonah praised God in his predicament, and I thought that’d be a good thing. So I sang worship songs quietly as we sat there. My mother was at home praying, too, as I’d texted her the situation.
Miraculously, we came out of that tunnel without being riddled in panic. I count that as an absolute miracle. My husband told me later that he didn’t think the needle budged for that entire hour and a half.
But I truly felt that we were in the shadow of the Almighty during that tense time. And what was most amazing of all is that I discovered shortly afterward, and I don’t know how or when this happened, but God completely healed me of my anxiety. He delivered me, and He physically healed me of symptoms that I realized must have been associated with it that I’d been battling and praying over for months. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it happened. There weren’t any manifestations. All I know is that I went into that dark, nerve-wracking tunnel anticipating the worst, and came out of it better than when I entered – healed and delivered.