Bridge

A Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, was thrilled to view Vancouver’s Lions Gate Suspension Bridge, by way of a file of pictures we sent to his wife’s computer. My old neighbor has a keen interest in this suspension bridge because of its enormous scale. I guess it should not surprise me as he thrives on giant tractors and barn-sized combines. Why wouldn’t Ed like a bridge that has 60,000 to 70,000 vehicles crossing it each day? People have been counting on the massive Vancouver bridge since it was built in 1938. People will not cross a bridge that they do not trust to get them safely over the water below.

We tend to depend on other people and lean on them because they have been trustworthy in our experience with them in the past.  Sometimes, it ‘s hard to find trust and comfort in a person or a situation. Many things can destroy the confidence needed so people can thrive.

When the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was being built, construction was slow at first because several workers had accidentally fallen from scaffolding to their deaths. It wasn’t that the workers were careless, every one of them did their best not to fall, but any fall meant death. Danger dictated slow work.

Someone came up with a solution to the slow, careful, workers. A huge net was hung under the bridge so that if a worker fell, he would be caught in the net and be saved. The workers’ progress dramatically improved because they could work without the fear of falling to their death. The huge net

meant their falling was not a matter of life and death anymore.

Jesus warned his disciples at the Last Supper that in a little while they would see him no more. For three years, the disciples had been counting on Jesus as their leader. Although Jesus would not be with them in person, he was not leaving them leaderless, or as helpless orphans as they continued his work on earth. God the Father would give them a Helper or Counselor, the Spirit of truth forever when Jesus was gone to heaven. Jesus did not want his disciples’ hearts to be troubled and afraid.

The gift of the Holy Spirit would be a safety net to keep the disciples from the incapacitating fear of continuing Christ’s work without him. Jesus was arrested after the Last Supper. He was crucified and buried, but he rose from the dead on the third day. He was sent from heaven to give the world the gift of salvation for sinners. When he returned to heaven, his disciples would have the daunting task of sharing God’s salvation for sinners in Jesus Christ to the ends of the world. They would need power beyond themselves to keep his commandments in their love for Him as they shared His salvation with others.

Without Jesus, physically present with the disciples, it would be hard to remember everything Jesus had said to them. Who would teach them when they were uncertain and guide them in what words they should say in difficult situations concerning Jesus and his salvation? Jesus said to them to be at peace for the Helper or Holy Spirit will be your safety net.

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Raymond Maher
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