Swinging Bridges

Photo by Dex Ochoa

Crossing a swinging bridge requires a level of trust and confidence that I find difficult to achieve. The bridge sways with each of my steps, even more so if there’s a maniac on the bridge who finds delight in running or jumping. I grasp the ropes or cables that act as both part of the suspension system and handrails, thinking that if the bridge gives way I’ll have a good grasp by which to hang in order to keep me from plummeting to earth. Or maybe, if one end of the bridge gives way I can run the other way, outrunning the collapsing bridge like the cartoon characters do. Neither option is very realistic. I walk as lightly as I can, an illogical effort, for no amount of walking lightly will keep my full weight from being on the bridge.

I anxiously and slowly make my way to the center of the bridge, the worse place to be, both ends equally distant, creating the dilemma of whether to continue or turn back. It’s also the location where the bridge swings the most. I push on past the midpoint, my pace cautiously quickening, anxious to reach terra firma. Sometimes the swinging bridge is part of a path that’s a dead end, meaning I have to go back from whence I came, putting myself through the whole process all over again. Am I having fun yet?

I got to thinking how the journey of crossing a swinging bridge is a lot like the journey of faith. The bridge is a whole lot more secure than I give it credit for being. Similarly, the day will come, the day after my last day here on earth, when I’ll realize God was far more trustworthy than I ever gave Him credit for while I was living my life on earth. Heaven’s hindsight will truly be 20/20!

God’s always asking us to trust Him, which is often not easy to do. If He would just make His presence, power, and love more obvious, like the big supporting pillars beneath most bridges! But the reality of God in my life frequently seems like the thin cables or ropes that hold up the suspension bridge. The steps that I take which make up my daily journey involve circumstances swinging me one way and then another, causing me to stagger, threatening the equilibrium of what I want to be a steady and confident faith in God.

The reality is that the swinging bridge is safe! Hundreds of people have crossed it before I’ve ventured to do so. The ropes and cables are strong. The swinging of the bridge is not a weakness, it’s just part of the design, that’s why it’s called a swinging bridge. I have to keep reminding myself of all of this as I navigate the swinging path of wooden slates, cables, and ropes.

The reality is that God is safe! God is safe for me to put my trust in Him. He’s made Himself known in different ways to me, not always in as obvious ways as I would prefer, like big concrete pillars beneath a bridge. Through eyes of faith I need to see His support and safe keeping as more like seemingly small but surely strong cables and ropes alongside me, like those of the swinging bridge.

Father of a boy who asks Jesus to heal his son, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24b)


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