Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bridge Collapse

The 35W bridge going into downtown Minneapolis collapsed this past Wednesday. We watched the television from 6:40 until almost 10 o’clock as they told stories and reported of the events. The bridge was under construction, reduced to 2 lanes in each direction, and at 6:05pm it collapsed with many cars on the bridge. My first thoughts were along the lines of, “That is unbelievable,” or “how could that have happened.” I was shocked and amazed. It was interesting to hear stories of those that survived. One man said his car split in half and he landed with the car front first into the ground after a 50-foot drop. He left with only a scratch on his nose. While there have been five deaths up to this point, I am shocked that there have not been more. Even construction workers who were not in cars survived the big drop. There is something about a tragedy like this that draws us, especially when it is so close to home. I think it is because we realize that we are no better off than the people who were on that bridge. We realize that we could have been driving on that bridge, and we want to know what it would have been like for us (as much as is possible).
I cannot help but be sobered by the fact that it could have been me or even my wife. I was on that bridge earlier that morning; Jennifer was on the bridge 3 hours beforehand. I have heard countless stories of our friends who were there 30 minutes, 10 minutes, and even 5 minutes before it collapsed. Karyn, Jennifer’s friend, would have been there had she not decided to wait around for her friend’s mom to pick her up at the church. In the midst of this tragedy, God is gracious. He spared so many lives; yes, He took a few, but so many were spared.
I cannot help but think of the somewhat cheesy, but very true analogy of Jesus being a bridge to life. So often, we, as humans, put all of our trust in things of this world to bring us life. Sometimes these things hold up for us for a while (much like the bridge held people up for 40 years). We think there is no way that they could ever let us down. As my friend Drew said when he heard of the collapse, “um…bridges aren’t supposed to do that.” That is the way we feel when we construct these things in our life that we put our trust in. If they fail, we think that they are not supposed to do that. The only thing that will not fail is Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20). He is the bridge that leads to life. The bridge collapsing was such a tragedy because life, the thing that humans value above all else, was taken away from people. This can happen eternally when we trust in our man-made things to give us life. Sure they may hold up for 5 years, 20 years, maybe even 80, but then what. When we die, they give way. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I will end with Jesus’ words in Luke 13:4-5:
“Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish”
Were the 5 who died when the 35W bridge crossing the Mississippi collapsed worse than everyone else who lives in Minneapolis? No, but unless we repent, we will all likewise perish.

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