There once was a girl who was traveling to a far off city. On her journey she heard rumors that the bridge was out ten miles down the road. This news devastated the girl as she knew there was no other route to the city she was seeking. Disheartened, the girl began to think. She thought of the great obstacle that lay before her. Then, in determination not to be thwarted in her journey, she began to gather wood and a hammer and nails. There, ten miles from the river, she began to build a bridge.
Quite a girl, right? Look at that determination! Oh, yes, she has spirit all right. But…why start building the bridge ten miles out? Why not wait till she gets closer to the river? Why waste all that energy building a bridge ten miles longer than it needs to be?
Well, you see the girl was a little bit of a fool and the girl… was me!
I used to be a notorious extended bridge builder. When I saw a problem in the distance, my hand would search for a hammer and nails, and away I would go building a bridge regardless of the potential recklessness of my behavior. How many of you have struggled with a similar problem? We have all heard the saying, “Don’t cross the bridge until you come to it.” But how many of us heed this advice? How many of us spend our days and nights mentally building bridges to help us cross ravines we may never come to? We worry about our children’s future, our health, the state of our nation. I bet you would be amazed at the amount of emotional energy we use trying to cope with hypothetical future situations. The amount of stress created by trying to grapple with the dark and foreboding “what ifs” in our lives is a constant drain on our peace and joy.
My journey with Colette was great training in this area. I remember even from the earliest days of her diagnosis being told repeatedly by her wonderful oncologist: “Don’t look too far ahead.” Which is a gentle way of saying, “Put down your hammer and nails, dear.” The ups and downs of Colette’s life initiated the lesson God was trying to teach me to set hypothetical fears on the shelf while focusing on the good or the bad that was right before me. As we progressed in our journey, I began to learn by experience the truth of God’s promise in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in weakness.” God’s grace, His presence, His comfort was always enough. It was always enough for me.
With time, I began to realize every time I reached a crossing He would be there waiting for me. Sometimes He would show me a bridge that others had built and I could use to cross; sometimes He would help me build a bridge of my own. And there were other times when He would simply part the river so that I could walk through on dry ground. He was always there. Every ravine, every river. He was there. There was no saying how I would get across, but there was no doubt that I would get across. He proved Himself faithful. Even through the most difficult crossing of all. His grace was just what He promised it would be. Sufficient. Enough. I have safely made it across to the other side.
I have learned not to waste a moment on hypothetical fears. I have learned to set aside rumors of dark and horrible futures. Dark and horrible they may be, but I will not let their future darkness rob the joy and peace of the present. If the bridge is out in the future, I know I will be met there by my good Father Who will find a way to help me cross. His grace will be enough tomorrow so I will not worry today. His grace will be enough for you as well. If you are His child, there will be no crossing He will not meet you at. There will be no dead end. There will always be a way forward, and it will always be by His side. Take courage, friend. Crumple up the blue-prints for your bridge, set aside the hammer and nails; walk confidently towards the city. If the bridge is out ahead, He is strong enough, wise enough and good enough to see you safely across. Be confident in Your God. His grace will always be enough.