Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Glass-Bottomed Bridge

My birthday was last Friday!  Our daughter came to meet me in Chattanooga to spend the afternoon with me, and one of the things we did was to walk across a glass-bottomed bridge.  The bridge had three apparent parts. The middle of the bridge was supported by a steel beam, which was obviously opaque.  To the right of the beam, the glass was less transparent, and to the right, it was almost completely transparent.  At first I could only walk on the beam, the solid, opaque (“not transparent or translucent; impenetrable to light; not allowing light to pass through.”— part.  Before we got to the end, I could walk on the slightly transparent (“having the property of transmitting rays of light through its substance so that bodies situated beyond or behind can be distinctly seen.”— part.  On the way back, I forced myself to walk on the clear part. 

The feelings I had just walking above the steel beam were incredible, because it felt like I was walking a high beam.  The adrenaline rush made my stomach knot up, and I was breathing very shallowly.  I was even talking out loud and most likely was groaning, something like, “Oh, my.  Oh, my.  Mmmm.”  I was definitely quibbing out, definitely freaked.  I was walking very slowly.  Everything in me was screaming, “DON’T DO THIS!!!  IT IS UNSAFE!!”  In my head, I KNEW that it was safe because of evidence.  1) Evin was ahead of me and was crossing safely.  2) Others were walking back and forth on it.  3) The city apparently deemed it safe enough to allow the public to use it, but my survival instincts had kicked in big time!!!  It made no sense that I could see through what was under me, as if there was nothing under me. 

When I forced myself to walk on the slightly transparent part, the feelings were just as intense!!  I had a pain in my stomach, a tightening.  I was still moaning and groaning and talking out loud.  I am sure those around me thought it was funny, although some of them may have been feeling the same things I was.  I just happen to be very vocal!  =)

On the way back, I was determined not to let this opportunity pass me by!  I had every intention of walking on the clear part.  Experience had taught me that the bridge would hold me.  Being a person who likes to really experience her experiences, I didn’t want to walk on it and look straight ahead.  I wanted to know what it was like to walk on the “air” and see myself “floating.”  It was very intense to me, but I was so proud that I had accomplished this small feat. 

Now you may be laughing at me.  You might not have had a problem with this!  Some of you may have jumped out of airplanes.  (Have you?)  Some of you may have bungee-jumped!  (Have you?)  Some of you may have gone cliff-diving.  (Have you?)  Some of you may have done really dangerous things. 

There is something about taking a step when there is seemingly nothing under you that causes an intense reaction.  A friend in Pennsylvania told us once in Sunday School that if God tells you to step off a cliff, you better do it, knowing that one of two things will happen:  either God will put a bridge under you, or you will learn to fly.  That has stuck with me.  Sometimes when I am stepping into the unknown, it feels a little like stepping onto that glass bridge, but if God has led me there, I must step out, trusting Him that I will not fall. 

We all know the story of Peter’s walking on the water to Jesus, and we are quick to criticize Peter for sinking, but I will tell you that the fear is real.  I believe in our spiritual walk we are a lot like Peter when he walked on the water and me when I walked on that glass bridge.  What God is telling us to do, where He is telling us to go, doesn’t make sense.  In fact, it goes against every survival instinct that He placed in us.  We are not sure we will survive it.  We may know we will survive, but it doesn’t feel like it.

Let’s talk about that just a minute.  God doesn’t always tell us to jump off a cliff the first time.  Usually there is an opaque walk way, a baby step of faith, but when we get through that, we are ready to walk on the slightly transparent part, because God showed Himself faithful in a little thing.  When God called David to slay Goliath, he said, “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.”  (1 Samuel 17:36)  The giant was just another step of faith, based on what God had already done.  God proved that when He asks us to do something, He is right there with us, guiding us, protecting us, working all things out for our good.  (Romans 8:28)

After the slightly transparent step, once again we have proven God to be just Who He says He is, and that He will do just what He says He will do.  We are more ready to jump off the cliff, knowing He will take care of the path.  The Word says, “Order my steps in thy word:  and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. “  (Psalm 119:133)  The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD:  and he delighteth in his way.”  (Psalm 37:23)

The more we walk in faith, the bigger our faith becomes. 

Sunday morning, when we were singing “Oceans,” I thought about that glass-bottomed bridge. 

"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior


Sincerely, why would I fear, because I KNOW God is with me, and I KNOW Him!!!  I know He will never do anything to harm me.  NEVER!!!  I know He will not let me fall if I trust in Him, if I lean on Him.  Deuteronomy 33:27 says, "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms:  and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them."  

Last month was my daddy’s birthday, and we wanted to surprise him with a ride on a pontoon boat.  He loves motor boats; he loves pontoon boats, and we knew he would love this birthday surprise.  However, he was so worried about what we had planned, and he began to rationalize out loud about possibilities, and one of the things he said was that he knew we loved him and would never do anything to hurt him.  It brought him comfort during the unknown. 

That is the way it is with God.  We may be stepping into the unknown, but we know Him, that He loves us unconditionally and will never do anything to hurt us.  He will never lead us anywhere that will cause us to lose out with Him.  He works all things for our good. 

I believe God is calling us to step out in faith in places and actions we have never approached.  I want to walk deeper with Him.  I want to listen closely, as my pastor preached a few weeks ago, and then take the next step to obey.    

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