Bridge Crossing Takes Faith
- October 23, 2019
- Chris Lawson
Over the summer we took our kids hiking. Outside. Extreme heat. High altitude.
All things I desperately hate.
But their mother thinks it is important that they experience fresh air, so off we went!
I am sure I had noticed it before, but when Jesus was putting together the parts that make up my children, he made a mistake. He left out the ‘fear gene.”
Whatever it is in normal people that makes them reasonably afraid of reasonably risky activities, none of my kids have it.
Near our home there is a privately-owned mountain that the family has turned into a tourist destination. I am not sure I knew you could own a mountain – feels like Jesus made them, they should all be fee free. But Grandfather Mountain in Linville, North Carolina sure is and it will cost nearly $100 to take a family of 5 up to its top.
It is almost worth it. Except for the whole: Outside. Extreme heat. High altitude.
This expensively priced venture has a quite unique feature – is it called the Mile-High Swinging Bridge.
Now, before you panic, let me say that it is not 5,230 feet from the bridge to the ground (that would be silly scary), but it is 5,230 feet above sea level (and that is scary enough).
It is a frightening sight to someone who gets a little nervous standing on chairs to change light bulbs.
You have to traverse a series of large boulders to even get over to the circus attraction. When I finally convinced the 5-year-old who lives at my house that jumping around wasn’t good for Daddy’s heart, and we were able to get the whole tribe over close enough to see the line awaiting passage, I noticed something interesting.
Young and old – 3 and 83 – all were going back and forth across the bridge. Some were timid – taking one small step at a time. Some were entirely too confident – leaning over the edge to look as they crossed.
But everyone was passing over. Big, little. Young, old. Brave, and not so. When I saw this, I felt my spirit relax and my anxiety replaced with courage. And, I learned something about faith in Jesus that day.
Faith Grows as Faithfulness is Recounted
I didn’t cross the bridge because one person, or even a couple people crossed. It was the countless people that I saw cross that increased my faith. The more I saw the bridge do what it was designed to do – deliver travelers from one side to the other – the more I trusted that it would do the same for me.
Faith grows the same way. The more we see Jesus do exactly what he promised he would do, the more we trust him. The more he protects, the more we have faith in him to protect us. The more we hear stories that he has healed, the more we believe he will heal us. The more we see Jesus restore relationships, the more we have faith he can restore our marriage or friendships.
As we recount Jesus doing EXACTLY what Jesus says he will do, the more we trust him to CONTINUE to do this in our life.
Faith is a Muscle that Grows
In general, I try not to lift heavy things. (If people know you can lift heavy things, they are likely to ask you to help them move heavy things. Win, win for Chris!) However, I do know that the more you use a muscle the more that muscle grows. Eventually, with practice, things that used to be heavy for you are no longer a challenge.
I crossed that bridge timidly, trusting the path of those who went before me, and knowing that the bridge would do exactly what it had done every time before. And, as I trusted the bridge on the way over, I was less timid and more trusting on the way back. I didn’t strut back over, but I did walk like an adult human taking full steps!
Yep, faith works just like that. It grows. What used to cause a crisis of faith now seems commonplace and our response to that challenge more natural. Our faith muscle grows and the heavy faith-lifting over the past becomes a breeze. In fact, as you cross the bridge, you frequently don’t even notice the breeze at all.
As you can see, we crossed. Kids loved it. Mom was pleased. Dad was ready for a burger.
I Don’t Have Faith in You
I was afraid. Now, I play it up for my kids a bit (or, so I have convinced myself). But I truly don’t like heights. And, I particularly don’t like bridges that sway at the whim of the wind.
The fear in me didn’t want to cross that bridge; but bridge crossing takes faith. Not faith in myself, but faith in the bridge.
Guess what, I don’t have any faith in me – or you, for that matter. I have faith in Jesus and his work in and through us. That is God’s good news for us. God didn’t build redemption on our ability to cross bridges. We would never cross – we’d all turn around and return to the car.
Instead God made a bridge to Himself in Jesus – a path that would never fail. And, the more the world sees that God’s bridge never fails, the more we all go running across into God’s arms.