Have you heard the story of the bridge?
There once was a bridge operator who had a young son whom he dearly loved. They were inseparable. The young boy often asked to go with his father to watch him work – to watch him raise and lower the draw bridge, allowing the boats to pass under or the passenger trains to cross over. One day the father relented and allowed his son to come with him.
“Stay here at a safe distance,” the father warned the boy, “while I go and raise the bridge for the coming boat.” The boy stayed where his father had left him and watched the bridge as it slowly lifted up in the sky. Suddenly, the boy heard the faint cry of an approaching passenger train – coming quite a bit sooner than had been expected. The father, up in the control room, could hear neither the whistle of the train nor the warning cry of his son.
The boy saw the train racing closer and closer, and he started to run along the platform to reach his father. Knowing there was a lever he could pull near the operating gears of the bridge, the boy ran to the door in the platform and tried to lower himself down to reach the lever. Losing his balance, he fell in to where the gears came together and was caught.
At the same time the father saw his son fall down into the hole in the platform, he saw the fast approaching train. In horror, he realized that if he didn’t start lowering the bridge immediately, it would not be down in time for the train to pass safely. The train would crash into the river below killing hundreds of innocent people.
The man was faced with an unimaginable dilemma – race to save his son at the cost of hundreds of lives, or sacrifice his son to save the passengers on the train.
He made the only choice he could and pulled the lever to lower the bridge. In spite of the noise of the descending bridge and the oncoming train, he still heard the anguished screams of his beloved son being crushed to death between the gears of the bridge.
The father ran to the platform as the train was passing by. Most people on the train simply ignored the man crying on the platform. Others looked out of the window and stared, totally oblivious of the unspeakable sacrifice that had just been made on their behalf. They gave no other thought or concern to this man who had just given up what was most precious to him so that they could live.
Do you see the parallel? Can you understand the picture this story paints?
Today we are reminded of the sacrifice of One which offers life to all. God did not take pleasure in watching His Son die on the cross. It had to have been agonizing for God to stand by as Jesus died covered in the intense darkness of all of our sins. There was no choice…it had to happen. The sacrifice had to be made in order for us to be able to live.
And like those people on the train, we have the choice regarding what we will do with that sacrifice. We can choose to ignore it – to ignore God – not even bothering consider what God did on our behalf. We can choose to look at God briefly – to glance in passing – and then continue on with our own priorities and plans. Or we can acknowledge what it was that God sacrificed to give us life. We can embrace it and accept it on our behalf, and choose to live our lives for God.
Where are you on that train? Can you see the anguish in the Father’s eyes as you pass by? Do you know that He offered His greatest sacrifice so that you could live? Will you accept it? Will you choose to give your life to Him because of what He gave for you?