Wednesdays with Jillene: bridges

As I walked with a friend of mine alongside a river where the hills rose high and the water ran calm I was awestruck with the beauty. The beauty of nature and of healing conversation. There were times when I would stop (mid-step), caught in awestruck gaze of the scenery. Be it the contrast of colors, the simplicity yet complexity of a flower blooming large, or the perplexities of scum floating almost still on raging water…

But there was one set of pictures I have been drawn back to for days. I knew the moment I took the pictures that it would be something to blog about… something God was saying to me that I couldn’t quite grasp… but something I needed to hear.

Truthfully, looking at those bridges I was struck by their expanse, grandeur, relatively simple architecture given their great task of support of highway traffic. I realized that, while they look SO large from down below peering up high… from on top, as you drive across them, well, you barely even notice them as you speed along at 65. They are just a quick bump as you transition from land to bridge and again back off. But their span provides a route across what would not be passable by car without their existence: a gorge.

I don’t build (physical) bridges, it isn’t my profession. I will admit to being dumbfounded as I speculate on the process. I remember visiting this site as construction began and being in wonder over how they do it all. And the cost! The cost to build was STEEP. Some even wondered if it was worth it (I guess some probably still do).

There are times in life when we are faced with the realities that there are some bridges we cannot build. Sometimes a crevice grows… splits… widens so large we cannot build a span to the other side. Be it relationships that are broken, families that split, jobs that are lost, hopes and dreams that are shattered, illnesses/injuries/disabilities that break our bodies/minds/spirits, evil that tears our world apart, sin that breaks us apart…

There are some bridges we cannot build.

But there is one who can.

As I walked along the water two days ago… deep in conversation… God was calling to me through His word, through scripture which I have been mulling over ever since.

Scripture makes it clear that our sin leads to death and there is nothing we can do on our own to remedy that situation. BUT the WONDERFUL part is that God loves us so much that HE GAVE HIMSELF FOR US! God counted the cost, paid the price, gave HIMSELF for us! He made a way where there was none; built the bridge we could not.

“…because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved… For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—“ (Read Ephesians 2)

And so we come to the verse I have been thinking on for over a week (and possibly years more than that):

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Do you know people who are afraid of bridges? People who will find any way possible to drive other than going over a large bridge? Maybe it’s because they can’t trust the structure, the expanse is too terrifying, the “what if’s” too plentiful… whatever the reason, some people don’t like passing over bridges. And for some it is the same with God’s grace, love, mercy and forgiveness.

Maybe as we grapple with the reality of the “cost” of salvation, of Christ’s sacrifice… it seems to steep.

Perhaps as we think on the intricacies of His mercy it seems too complex to have really been accomplished.

Maybe as we come face to face with His grace it is too massive to believe possible.

Or… sometimes we find ourselves afraid that the canyon of sin is too wide for God to bridge.

But He has!

And there is more.

Reread 1 John 1:9

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

God doesn’t just bridge our sin… he purifies us! Isaiah 1:18 says, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Psalm 103: 12 says, “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

That is what God’s love is…

And so I am praying for us (for you and for me)… praying that we can hear the message from God’s word, that we accept the message and allow it to work in us.

~Jillene

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