Spirit & Truth # 284
By Greg Smith
Once, there was a man who lived in a jungle village. Nearby was a river so wide that no one could see across, and that none of his tribe had ever crossed. Then one day on the riverbank the villager noticed something shining in the sunlight. It had two leather straps, and between the straps a flat, round, shiny object with two hands that pointed to markings along the edges of the circle.
He took the odd thing to the other men in his tribe, and together they discussed its origins. The old men told him that there were ancient legends of another tribe that lived across the river. That tribe made many strange and marvelous things that they didn’t have on this side of the river. But, the elders told him, the river was too wide to cross. This object he had found must have gotten across by accident somehow, and it was best forgotten.
The man did not sleep that night, but lay awake, thinking of a way to cross the river. He couldn’t canoe across, because he knew he might lose sight of the shore and get lost. He couldn’t travel upstream and ford the river at a narrow point, because the village elders said he could travel for weeks, and the river would never get any narrower. So the man fell asleep trying to solve his problem. Then, in a dream, he saw a long bridge stretching all the way across the river.
Before the sun rose, the man got up and began assembling materials for his bridge. Full of confidence, he began to build. Tirelessly he worked, and day after day the people mocked his attempt. The bridge grew so long that eventually he could no longer see the banks of the river near his home. Then one day, his wife walked out on the bridge to bring him his food, and he was gone! She returned to the village weeping, because she assumed her husband had fallen into the river and drowned.
Days passed, and the villagers gave up all hope of seeing their friend again. Then one morning the man’s daughters looked and saw their daddy returning to them. He was walking back to the village upon the bridge, accompanied by a crowd of strange looking people in foreign dress, bearing wonderful gifts for the villagers. “Daddy! Daddy!” they cried as they ran to him. “Tell us where you’ve been!”
The father gathered his girls up in his arms and kissed them. “I’d come to the end of my bridge,” he told them. “And my materials were all gone. But just when I was about to give up, they saw me with their spy-glasses, and sent a boat out to meet me. Now, they have completed the bridge, and we all have come to you. The wealth of the other side now can be ours, for the two have become one!”
2 Corinthians 5:19 (NIV) says, “…God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” This means that we who were once far away are now brought near by the blood of Christ. You can’t build a bridge to God—you’ll reach the end of your materials every time you try. But God reaches out to you, taking your hand and drawing you near. Only Jesus, the Master Carpenter, can complete the bridge that brings reconciliation. Only Jesus can bring you peace. I hope you’ll take His hand today.