It’s not your ordinary bridge. This one isn’t made of stone or wood or even popsicle sticks. Stretching across the walls of my heart is a bridge of faces—a collage of all the people who have stood in the gap for me through the low times of my life.
Sunday School Teacher, you thought you were only teaching me the Who Did Swallow Jonah song. Sure, I remember, “Whale did swallow Jonah.” (Though as an adult I’ve learned that it was actually a big fish instead). Do you know when you really captured my heart? It was the Sunday that you told me I was smart. Up until then, I thought I was stupid. At least that’s what my dad always told me.
There you were, leaning over me with a smile, showing me a pathway from the island of Nothingness to the solid ground of Somethingness. At every turn, you reminded me that my life had promise and potentiality. You were a bridge of hope for me, Sunday School Teacher.
I’ll never forget the sermon on being a living sacrifice at church camp. The chaplain didn’t know that I already was one. I was stuck in the sinking ground of self-sacrifice, the kind that others trampled on like a doormat. Perplexed, I didn’t dare speak up, but Camp Counselor, you saw right through me. While other ministry leaders were focused on curfews and clean cabin competitions, you cared most about de-cluttering my heart’s confusion.
Shedding light in the darkness, you paved the way from the island of Codependency to the solid ground of Freedom. Camp Counselor, you were a bridge of truth for me.
Oh, Pastor’s Wife, if you only knew. While your husband spoke messages on people using their gifts for the glory of God, you—YOU were the one who tapped me on the shoulder and actually begged me to use my own. “Who, Me?” I asked. Until that moment, I honestly thought the Pastor was preaching to someone else…maybe the choir.
Looking me straight in the eye with a persuasive sparkle, you told me that I had a gift, and I must use it to help the younger kids who “looked up to me.” The younger kids look up to ME? I hope you know, Pastor’s Wife, that you helped me cross the ocean from the island of “Who, Me?” to the solid ground of “Yes, YOU!” You were a bridge of confidence for me.
And Mentor, would it hurt your feelings if I admitted that I can’t remember your name? I have a feeling that being known was never important to you. Even as a busy mom of three, you took the time to reach out to me in my single college days. I just want you to know, precious woman, that while I was struggling—desperately fighting between the still voice of Truth and the mocking voice of lies—you were there, praying the Word of God in my ear. You reminded me to wait on the Lord, that His timing was best and that the way of purity would not return to me empty or void.
So thank you, Mentor. Though I limped over it, you were a walkway from the island of Passion to the solid ground of Purity. You were a bridge of holiness for me.
As my memory reflects on this hodge-podge of faces, (and there are many more), I pray that my face is etched on the collage of someone else’s heart. May I help a child to feel smart and significant, a youth to see his potential, a teen to know she is known, or a younger woman to sense my concern for her purity and value as a daughter of the King. If I allow God, how will He use me to bridge the gap for someone stuck in a mud puddle of lies?
It’s definitely not your ordinary bridge. Not only is it made up of people, but also…when I see the frame upon which they are standing, it is the most extraordinary image of all: the nail-pierced hands of Jesus—extended—marking a narrow path from Sin to Everlasting Life. He has been the One holding the bridge together all along, moving in the hearts of His people to lead the way.
“And I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.”
Jeremiah 3:15 (NLT)
“…And in Him all things hold together.”
Colossians 1:17b (NIV)
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