[forthright] Crossing Bridges

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sat, 14 Mar 2009 08:49:36 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
http://www.forthright.net 
Straight to the Cross

When troubles come, no one knows better than Job. 'In
Search of Perfection: Studies from Job,' by Michael E.
Brooks. Click here:
http://forthrightpress.com/#InSearchOfPerfection


COLUMN: FIELD NOTES

Crossing Bridges 
 by Michael E. Brooks

   "Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm
   the feeble knees. Say to those who are
   fearful-hearted, 'Be strong, do not fear!
   Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
   with the recompense of God; He will come and
   save you' " (Isaiah 35:3-4 NKJV).

I like bridges. My father was a contractor who spent
much of his life building bridges and culverts in
Alabama. I loved to go with him to his job sites while
I was a child, and as an adult still enjoy crossing
bridges which his company built. Some of the world's
great engineering feats and structural wonders are
bridges (as for example the Golden Gate Bridge in
California).

There are bridges in Nepal however that are not quite
so enjoyable to cross. I am speaking of the swinging
bridges which span so many of the deep gorges in the
Himalayas. Some are hundreds or even thousands of feet
above the bottom of the chasm. Many are quite old with
rusting cables supporting them, and broken or missing
boards on the walkway.

All of them share the sense of instability that is
inherent in their design (that is, they sway and
tremble when you walk on them). It is not unusual for
me to show one of these on a pictorial report and have
someone in the audience respond, "I could never cross
that!" I must confess that there have been a few times
when I took one look and thought, "Am I sure I have to
go there?"

Life is full of swinging bridges. That is, there are
many occasions when we must attempt something that puts
us at risk and makes us feel insecure. Dangers abound.
Much of what we do involves placing ourselves in
situations where support is dubious and threats are
real. Unlike risks undertaken for thrills however,
these are necessary and often unavoidable. I

n Nepal, there are no ways around the deep crevices
between the mountain peaks. If one wishes to go from
one place to another, there may only be one path,
complete with its bridge(s). If the trip is essential,
so is the danger.

Isaiah speaks to a people threatened by many enemies
and also facing the promised judgment of God. Some
dreadful things were due to be experienced by Judah
over the next several decades. Yet beyond these God
promised rescue and redemption. The Israelites would
face difficult times, but if they endured God would
bless them.

They must simply cross the bridge! So the prophet
encourages them to strengthen their weak hands and feet
and not to fear because God would be with them.

Later in this same chapter Isaiah elaborates on this
theme.

   "A highway shall be there, and a road, and
   it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
   The unclean shall not pass over it, but it
   shall be for others. Whoever walks the road,
   though a fool, shall not go astray. No lion
   shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast
   go up on it; it shall not be found there.
   But the redeemed shall walk there, and the
   ransomed of the Lord shall return and come
   to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy
   on their heads. They shall obtain joy and
   gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee
   away" (Isaiah 35:8-10).

Nepal's swinging bridges may seem unstable, yet one
thing is sure; there are no wrong turns on them. The
way is clear and one's destination plain. You won't
lose your path or confuse your sense of direction.

One is reminded of Jesus' description of the way of
salvation. "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is
the way which leads to life, and there are few who find
it" (Matthew 7:14). Just as the bridge is the only way
to a particular destination in Nepal, so Jesus is the
only way to an eternal home with God (John 14:6). The
key to successfully navigating either is to "be strong,
do not fear", and to trust in God who will sustain us.

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