Tuesday, January 10, 2006

“On the I-40 Bridge”: Afterthoughts

Yesterday, I wrote about the collapse of the I-40 bridge over the Arkansas River in 2002, and some fishermen who helped with the rescue.

A few months later, a TV news crew wanted to re-create the scene for a documentary. Wilhoit tried over and over to shoot a flare that would reach the middle of the bridge, but they never went over forty feet, falling short of the bridge. He believed the expired flare shot sixty feet that morning only through the power of God. He said his grandfather, a minister, always told him God is with us in times of trouble—and he knew his grandfather was right.

It seems to me that the I-40 bridge is like life. It collapses now and then, without warning, and people plunge off into death and despair. The flare—the good news of God’s great love for us—gives us hope and rescues us from abysmal emptiness. We are not alone.

People who have already been saved from themselves by God’s love should feel compelled by urgency to shoot the flares and thus help those who are hurtling toward the edge, unaware. We see people all the time, in despair, drowning in anger, hurt, loneliness, or sorrow. We can’t just sit there in the boat, puttering along, tending our fishing while others crash into the darkness. We have to tell them.

The fact that our flares might be weak, even expired, doesn’t matter. God empowers us to do whatever is necessary. We have to pray, “Lord, tell me what to do to help” when we see someone sinking—someone who doesn’t have a clue that she is about to fall over the edge. We have to tell her that she is not alone; God wants to keep her from falling.

Wilhoit, Alton. "On the I-40 Bridge." Guideposts (Nov. 2004): 71-74.

No comments:

Post a Comment