Devotional: The Bridge

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And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28 NASB

Do you know folks that have found a place of contentment with their illnesses?  Someone who tells you they would not be where they are now spiritually if not for the challenges they face?  A person who has found God in their illnesses - and is grateful?

I remember a story from a devotional book by Melody Beatty that I used to read.  I realized that a paraphrase of that story fits quite well for those of us who struggle with chronic challenges and have not yet come to see any form of "good" in it.

"A small group of people are huddled together on the top of a cold, bleak mountain. Many different paths lead up to the mountain top.  The people all have something in common.  Their lives brought them to a place of utter despair and hopelessness.

They have been told another mountain top exists. It is full of light and love and peace. It might be hard to even discern that mountain.  Perhaps it is something that isn't really there.  Maybe a fable or a myth?  Yet, miraculously those despairing mountain top people become aware of voices coming from that other mountain top.  The words become discernible.

"Don't give up!" is heard.  "Trust in God - He will get you through this!"  Another voice chimes in, "Just walk across the bridge.  You can be here, too."

Bridge?  No bridge can be seen.  Yet the voices continue to call across the gap.  "Just step out.  The bridge is there!  Step out in faith!"

One brave soul decides to try.  He places his foot out into what should be nothingness.  When he looks down, he sees the solid structure of a bridge beneath his feet.  But the bridge ends right there.  Ever so cautiously, he takes another step.  Again and again,  a solid bridge is beneath his feet.  Trusting step by step, our brave hero walks to the other mountain across an ever developing bridge until he is standing firmly on that bright and shining mountain.  There is light, warmth, healing, and love on this mountain.  

He looks back.  The others stand there in bewilderment.  They have just watched someone traverse a space that was seemingly nothing but air.  They watched as the person moved slowly.  Cautiously.  Perhaps looking back every now and then to motion someone else to follow.

Impossible!  There was nothing to stand on.  Nothing!

And yet, the man who had stood on their mountain was somehow standing on the other mountain top waving and encouraging them to follow.

If you are one of the blessed who have made it across that invisible bridge - one that now looks so strong and solid, your job is to encourage others to join you.  You can share what God has done for you.  You can urge others to trust in God - that there is much to learn through their illnesses.

Yet, you might be one of that group of people huddling on the cold, dark mountain.  You have heard stories of the other mountain peak - yet you don't see how one can ever get to light, and love, and joy, and peace.

But there are the voices.  You  hear stories.  You read words.  You know all of the "platitudes" about trust and faith.  But your mountain top is cold and bleak.

It's up to you to take that first step.  You don't see the bridge at all.  You have been told that it is there.  It sounds like foolishness.  What if you try - and fail.  Won't you be even worse off?

And yet - those voices are still there.  "The bridge is there!  Step out in faith."

Now, I've no way of knowing if, as you read these words, you are one of those who have already stepped out and are walking that bridge, if you have made it to the other mountain top of faith, or if you stand dismayed and disillusioned, unable to believe in that bridge called "God."

I've not made it to the other mountain top yet.  I can hear the voices of those calling to me, encouraging me to continue.  

But I can turn back and smile at you.  I can encourage you to keep going.  To take a risk.  To seek God.

The bridge is real.  It is holding me up.  Won't you take that step of faith onto the bridge today?

It's there.

Father God, Thank you for the encouragement of those who have walked this walk ahead of us.  For those who have made it safely into the light of Your care and love.  Thank you for those who we can encourage as we point to our own journey toward You.  And thank you that the bridge does indeed, exist - seen or unseen.  Amen and amen.

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